Friday, April 26, 2024

Council apprentices given First Start

Councils across the state are set to welcome 400 new apprentices and trainees thanks to the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work First Start program.

Visiting Townsville City Council’s boilermaker workshop, Minister for Training and Skills Development, Di Farmer said 66 local governments would share in $6 million to offer 12-month traineeships for young Queenslanders and disadvantaged jobseekers.

“As we continue to grow our economy, investing in skills and training will help even more Queenslanders find the right job,” Minister Farmer said.

“Skilling Queenslanders for Work is one of the most successful programs of its kind in the country, with 73% of participants finding work or taking on further training around 12 months after exiting the program.

“First Start leverages the range of valuable services provided by councils to create training opportunities that lead to decent, secure jobs and stronger council workforces. 

“Here in Townsville, we have apprentices and trainees in electrical, engineering and heavy vehicle automotive trades. Each day, they are contributing to the services, equipment, and facilities that their friends, families and colleagues rely on, all the while gaining a nationally-recognised qualification.”

She said Councils were responsible for recruiting their allocated places and could choose which qualifications they want to develop in their workforces.

Member for Mundingburra, Les Walker said Townsville City Council would recruit 18 apprentices and trainees thanks to $270,000 from the First Start program.

“First Start has already supported 138 locals into apprenticeships and traineeships so far, and with these 18 new positions, we pass the 150 mark,” he said.  

“Council have been doing great work with local apprentices and trainees while assisting the Palaszczuk Government with our commitment to creating jobs for Queenslanders.”

Deputy Mayor Mark Molachino said Council’s apprentice and traineeship program was an investment in the future of the city and wider North Queensland region.

“At a time when skills shortages are impacting a number of industries, it’s never been more important for public and private sector employers to take on apprentices and trainees,” Mayor Molachino said.

“By taking on apprentices and trainees, Council is ensuring these people can develop the skills, knowledge and on-the-job experience they need in their chosen area.

“Once they complete their training, they will be ready for full-time jobs either with Council, other employers or perhaps even starting their own business.”

Apprentice Abi Winter is currently completing a Certificate IV in Engineering with Council, after completing her Certificate III in February.

In 2020, she was named Engineering Apprentice of the Year at the TAFE Excellence Awards and was a finalist for the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year NQ at the Queensland Training Awards.

“Doing my apprenticeship with Council has given me the opportunity to learn new skills and get experience working in a variety of areas,” Miss Winter said.

“It’s been a great start to my career and I can’t wait to see where my qualifications will take me next.”

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) manages the application, assessment and allocation process for the First Start program.

LGAQ CEO, Alison Smith said the First Start program had brought immense benefits to communities across the state.

“Providing young people the chance to do traineeships and apprenticeships through the First Start program lets them continue to live and work in their communities while teaching them invaluable skills,” Ms Smith said.

“It gives an economic boost to the councils as well, letting them draw from a skilled local workforce, rather than contracting out.

“Most of these trainees and apprentices go on to secure permanent employment at their end of their traineeship or even before they finish, with the remaining few often pursuing higher education or further training.”

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