Rachel Browne - The SMH
Working up a sweat on a hot and dusty building site in Sydney's south-west, 16-year-old school-leavers James Cipollino and Zaia Yelda can't believe their luck.
The pair have just scored their first job, doing maintenance tasks for building company, SR Construction.
With many of their friends out of work, James and Zaia are both keen to develop basic skills that will lead to better prospects. James, of Bankstown, would like to become an apprentice scaffolder or roofer while Zaia, who lives in Fairfield, is interested in carpentry.
"It's hard to find work when you don't really know how to get a foot in the door," James said.