12 July, 2021
Constructing a new future
Thanks to the Oakey Youth Project and the State Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work program, twelve Oakey young people are showing that with the opportunity, resources and encouragement, anything is possible as they complete the first month of a 20 week Certificate 1 in Construction.
It is the first time this type of course has been based at Oakey and doesn’t require the students to travel into Toowoomba to study.
As well as Oakey Youth Project, the program is a partnership between Busy at Work and TAFE Queensland with support from Oakey Chamber of Commerce, Coops Construction and Oakey State High School.
TAFE QLD’s Ethan McCleverty said the Certificate will give the young people the perfect basis for any apprenticeship or trade.
“The program will give them all the foundation skills to start an apprenticeship or get into a trade,” Mr McCleverty said.
“They don’t just have to go into carpentry, they can go into any other trade. That is the best thing about this Certificate 1.”
As both a local business owner and a member of the Oakey Chamber of Commerce, David Cooper of Coops Construction said he can see the benefits of the program aimed at young people between 16 and 24 years.
“From an employers aspect I guess it gives them an experience level to be able to come along to interview and be able to say that they have actually done something and achieved a level tooling and workmanship to get them started,” he said.
“The chances of success are a lot higher than someone who walks in with no experience at all.”
The program has also given the young people the opportunity to work with a beloved historic community asset in the Jondaryan Woolshed.
Woolshed general manager Emma Otto said she is extremely thankful that the group is able to complete some of the certificate at the facility.
She said from very small to larger scale jobs, the students have shown enthusiasm and skills.
“We have got so much here that they can get involved with,” she said.
“They are, as a community group, improving a community asset. It is amazing to see.”
Ms Otto said the group is adding “soo much value” to the Woolshed and the organisation is very grateful for their help.
“They are valued out here. They’ve been great to us,” she said.
It is hoped that the group will also be able to undertake work at other local sites to broaden their experiences.
Alongside readying the students for a future construction career, the program involves life skill development sessions from first aid and financial management to healthy living and resilience.
Mr Cooper said he hoped the combination of training and life skills would increase the outcomes for the participants.
“We are hopeful that at the end of the traineeship they can smoothly transition,” Mr Cooper said.
“We want to see 100 per cent of them find a job, so the outcomes are really good and we can keep doing these programs.”