As millions of Australians face sudden unemployment due to the COVID-19 crisis, an ex-Qantas employee has taken direct action.
Sydney-based Anthony Cohen has launched Project Displaced, a new online community and job board for employees in the airline, arts, tourism, and hospitality industries.
Cohen worked for Qantas for more than 16 years and his partner is an orchestral musician. Both have had their work contracts put on hold or cancelled.
The COVID-19 crisis hit them and their extended network very personally, and this inspired Cohen to take direct action.
“We set up Project Displaced to help our community through this terrible and very sudden crisis,” he said.
“After both my partner and I lost our jobs, I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing, so I came up with the idea of Project Displaced.”
The online hub allows employers to post any vacant roles for free. Employees impacted by displacement can also register their details for free, upload their CVs and apply for jobs.
Cohen put a call out on LinkedIn for employers who had jobs and was quickly approached by a number of employers looking for staff in the insurance, manufacturing, vocational education, and IT sectors. One employer even created a “hotline” email for hime to share with those impacted.
Cohen then started sharing these with impacted workers via private Facebook groups, but quickly realised he needed something which allowed scale. So, he built the website using a template job board product and started to promote the project via Facebook groups.
“We’re targeting people who have been stood down or have been displaced from their ongoing permanent roles as COVID-19 continues to impact the job market,” Cohen said.
“We want to match any available jobs to the people with the right skills, and with urgency.”
The website has just launched, but so far traction is strong. Within a few days, traffic to the Project Displaced website was up 45,000 per cent.
Project Displaced is also recording the breadth and depth of the impact of this crisis across the airline, arts, tourism, and hospitality industries.
“At a later point, we would like to use the experiences of this community to lobby for greater assistance, and to get people back to work quicker when jobs and life returns,” Cohen added.
“Right now, what we need are good news stories. We saw this project as being a small way that we could help people in our industries feel less helpless, and more helped.
“Everyone is hurting, and if we can help bring a community together – or even better, find some people a means to support themselves and their families – then at least we are contributing positively in some small way during these dark times for many.”
Featured image source: iStock.com/artisteer