May 8, 2020, 04:00 AM

When Fletcher Pearse secured a job as a ramp agent with Australia’s largest cargo handling company in November, he felt that Christmas 2019 had landed early. But he hadn’t banked on the mass cancellations of COVID-19.

“Working at Tulla was my dream job,” says the chatty 24-year old, who’d previously worked for two-and-a-half years as a cleaner with Coles. “I was loading and unloading planes with a really friendly group of guys, working outdoors, driving the baggage tugs – it was great!”

But within three months, Fletcher’s dream was up in smoke. After seeing his shifts gradually cut through February, Fletcher was stood down with most of his colleagues in mid-March.

Fortunately, before he left Tullamarine, Fletcher was handed a brochure for the Working for Victoria Fund – the $500 million initiative launched by the State Government to link unemployed Victorians with jobs in cleaning, food delivery, and other roles needed during the COVID crisis.

Citywide has emerged as a natural partner in this rapid response, providing ‘deep cleaning’ and other lifesaving sanitation in the streets, parks and open spaces where we perform our usual work. Since we launched the scheme on April 15th, more than 200 newly unemployed Victorians have joined our street-cleaning teams.

Fletcher was one of our first recruits, joining a team disinfecting public seating, traffic lights, railings and other ‘touch points’ on the streets of Stonnington.

“I feel extremely lucky,” he says. “The airline industry has been hit hard by this crisis, and it could have hit me really hard. If I hadn’t landed this job, I would have lost my car and fallen behind on bills, and things could have gotten really bad. I’m so happy and grateful that I found this way out of dodge!”

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Media Contact:
Simon Mossman - Group Corporate Communications 
M 0427 307 216