STRONGER TOGETHER: Opening employment pathways

Last updated: 27/09/2021

STRONGER TOGETHER: Opening employment pathways

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This weeks sees Tanya discussing employment pathways.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Finding a job is always a challenge, particularly with the economic uncertainty of COVID.

At IMPACT Community Services one of our key focuses is on opening employment pathways so people can learn to participate and prosper in the workplace, no matter what barriers they may face.

We have two social enterprises – one a commercial laundry/cleaning operation and the other which focuses on recycling activities. Between them they create workplace opportunities for more than 40 people at any one time. Many of our staff face challenges such as living with a disability. We are so proud that over the years, a considerable number of our social enterprise staff have successfully transitioned into the open labour market.

Another great example of how we create employment pathways for jobseekers is our Green Gang.

Twice a year, we employ 10 people to complete their Certificate I in Conservation and Ecosystem Management.

For 22 weeks these trainees engage in projects that improve the local environment under the watchful eye of supervisor Rob Alder.

It’s all part of the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.  Excitingly, our latest intake has just begun.

The Green Gang delivers a double win-win for the community. Firstly, everyone benefits from the rejuvenation of public spaces, while our trainees also gain:

  • Experience in a real-world work environment: We provide a safe space where participants can make mistakes and learn from them;
  • Development of vocational and general skills: On-the job training sees participants complete a variety of job-specific tasks and build their soft skills (eg; ability to work as part of a team) which are highly desired by employers;
  • Enhanced self-esteem: As trainees gain confidence in the tasks, their self-esteem grows enabling them to move on to more complex challenges;
  • An income: Providing wages at Award level enables trainees an appreciation of the improved life that can be realised through work;
  • A chance to change: With each working day and the acquisition of new skills, trainees develop and change on both personal and work levels.

Some trainees may not have worked in the past. For others, it may have been a while between jobs. Taking part in a program like this helps them acquire the right mindset for future success.

What we’ve seen, time after time, is this program gives them a chance to demonstrate they can be reliable, take responsibility and be consistent.

Over the coming weeks, I encourage you to take a look at some of the work they’ve done at Moore Park Beach, or closer to Bundaberg’s CBD, check out the Baldwin Swamp area and, in particular, the pathway that comes off Que Hee St.

I look forward to watching our participants grow and develop and seeing the positive changes that these projects will make to our region.
It’s so rewarding to see the glow of optimism each of the participants bring as they settle into the program.

Thank you to the Queensland Government for funding the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative, and the Bundaberg Regional Council for identifying regeneration and restoration projects across the region, in addition to supplying the necessary resources for these community projects to be realised.

Together, we are making a difference to the lives of people in our community.

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