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GROW Bendigo: Celebrating a Community Legacy of Nurturing Growth & Employment

Welcome to the inspiring journey of GROW Bendigo, an initiative that has been transforming lives and communities since 2019.

The GROW Bendigo story

GROW is an initiative of the Give Where You Live Foundation and G21 that started in 2013 and was designed to tackle place-based disadvantages by fostering growth and employment in the Geelong region. 

With the support of the Victorian Government in 2018, this initiative expanded its reach to key regional centres, including Bendigo, with Be.Bendigo as the auspicing body.

GROW Bendigo united key local stakeholders through a collective impact approach to drive meaningful change. 

GROW Bendigo’s achievements over the course of the program – 2018-2023 include:

GROW Bendigo amassed a total of 59 signatories. 

By the end of 2022, GROW Bendigo facilitated 240 employment outcomes, including 40 pathways to employment via TAFE, apprenticeships, and training programs. 

Launched the Inaugural Youth Mentoring Program in July 2022 with 15 mentor-mentee pairs.

Established strong partnerships with many local businesses and organisations. 

GROW Bendigo has been instrumental in fostering numerous success stories over the years, demonstrating the incredible impact of collaboration and community engagement.
McKern Steel, a family-run business and premier structural steel supplier, partnered with WestVic Staffing Solutions to provide at-risk candidates with valuable employment opportunities.
Read more about McKern Steel
LCMS, a not-for-profit multicultural organisation, collaborated with local businesses like Spotless and JL King to create customised educational and employment programs for people from CALD backgrounds, promoting equity and understanding.
Read more about LCMS
Nicholson Construction's Conversations in Construction program has inspired the next generation of builders and engineers through hands-on experiences in the industry.
Read more about Nicholson Construction
GAME Traffic has also expanded its youth employment program, Geared4Careers, to reach over 1,300 students across 15 regional secondary schools.
Read more about GAME Traffic
These remarkable achievements showcase GROW Bendigo's transformative role in creating meaningful employment opportunities and fostering positive social impact within the community.
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GROW was originally implemented in five regions – Bendigo, Greater Shepparton, Gippsland, Central Highlands (Ballarat) and G21 (Geelong) with the support of Government Funding. It is now currently being implemented in G21 (Geelong).

Click below to find out more about the GROW network

Programs and partnerships


A hub for local jobseekers and employers


How GROW works

How grow works

About GROW Bendigo

GROW supported businesses in addressing staffing issues by revisiting their recruitment practices and identifying different demographics they might not have traditionally considered for positions, creating equitable and sustainable jobs.

Businesses were provided opportunities to give back to the community by getting involved in programs, mentoring, and social procurement.

GROW aimed to change the way we bought and employed, to support local businesses and help create an equitable jobs market. There were four ways to do this: spend local, spend social, be inclusive, and advocate and collaborate.

Reducing unemployment rates – particularly in persistently disadvantaged communities – ultimately strengthened the local social and economic fabric of the region.

The purpose of GROW Bendigo was to drive social and economic outcomes in our communities through inclusive employment.

It was built on the collective impact model and depended on businesses, government, community organisations, and individuals working together to achieve its goals.

Growing Regional Opportunities for Work.

GROW programs now operate across five Victorian regions, Bendigo, G21 Geelong region, Central Highlands (Ballarat), Gippsland and Shepparton

What people have said about GROW

How do I get involved?

Talk to us, we can take you through the benefits – it costs nothing to be part of and in return you’ll be part of this growing network of people and businesses who understand and embrace the good for business and community approach.
GROW Bendigo is a chance to make a contribution to help our community reach its full potential. Fill out the form adjacent to learn more.