Thursday, October 13th, 2011
Gosford Graffiti Art Competition gets artistic youths off the streets and into careers that take advantage of their talent.

Like so many urban areas, the City of Gosford on the NSW Central Coast is no stranger to the problem of graffiti. Statistics as recent as 2009 show that Gosford is the tenth highest hotspot in NSW for graffiti and, according to Gosford City Council in 2011, around a quarter of a million dollars each year is spent by residents, businesses and local government to clean up the problem.

In May of this year, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell announced tough new penalties for youths who commit graffiti vandalism, backing this up with figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research showing that over two-thirds of graffiti offenders identified by police were under the age of 18 and over 50 per cent of them young males. The announcement was held shortly after Gosford City Council held its Graffiti Action Day, where local residents came together to volunteer to clean up a number of graffiti hotspots in the area.

This got the team at Jobfind Centre Gosford thinking: what could they do to help curb the local graffiti problem, to help prevent local youths from committing the crime in the first place, and to help local residents and businesses avoid having to clean it up?

With a number of young men on their case load, many of whom could be difficult to engage, Job Services Australia provider Jobfind decided to run a local Graffiti Art Competition. Opening it up to anyone between the ages of 13 and 25 years, the competition offered youths from across the Central Coast with a gift for Aerosol-can Art the chance to express their talent legally and perhaps win a prize for doing so.

“What most people don’t realise when they see graffiti is that the artists behind it often have a great deal of talent, they just rarely get the opportunity to showcase their abilities to the broader public without painting a public space”, said Katie Gleeson, Centre Manager of Jobfind Gosford. “The aim of this competition was to put the creativity of these kids to good use, by helping them to see that they can legitimately use these skills for employment in areas such as graphic design, painting and tattoo artistry.”

The competition asked entrants to submit an artwork on canvas with the theme, “Anything is Possible” – Jobfind’s slogan and mantra. The winner of the competition, 23 year old Brett Lucas, not only won a $500 gift voucher for his entry, he was also asked to paint a mural of it on the wall of Jobfind’s Gosford office.

Brett (pictured with his mural and Centre Manager Katie Gleeson) is an ex-offender who came to Jobfind looking for help finding work. With his gift for drawing and graffiti art, Brett has secured casual employment in the Gosford area, including designing and painting the dance floor of a local club. In addition to completing Jobfind’s Ready4Work employment preparation program, Brett has also been gaining some valuable work experience at a local tattoo studio to help him see the sorts of employment options available.

With the help of the team at Jobfind, Brett has applied for the Government’s New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) to receive training, advice and mentoring to help him start his own small business. In addition to this, Brett will be applying to enrol in a Graphic Design course at TAFE next year, with his recent Jobfind mural adding to his portfolio of artworks to be used in his application.

“Thank you to Jobfind for helping me look into the types of courses and jobs I can work towards using the skills I already have, and for helping me to work on the new skills I need for finding work”, said Brett. “I am so excited that I won the competition, but even more excited about the career I have ahead of me”.

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Jobfind Centres Australia

Jobfind is a division of the Angus Knight group of companies, an Australian-owned organisation with a proven, decade-long record of providing quality employment and training services. A provider of the Australian Government’s Job Services Australia, Jobfind has placed almost half a million people into jobs since its inception. For more information on Jobfind and the Angus Knight Group, please visit
Ry Bradly
P: 0292595530


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