Hands-on experience for trainees helps improve boardwalk access

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The team at Bundaberg Now captured the partnership between IMPACT Community Services' Green Gang and the Bundaberg Regional Council in a recent story on the boardwalk at Sharon Gorge.

See the article below and head to their website to watch the video!

IMPACT Community Services’ Green Gang trainees and Council’s natural areas team are extending the boardwalk at Sharon Gorge to improve access.

IMPACT employees working on the boardwalk are currently studying their Certificate I in Conservation and Ecosystem Management, with the program employing up to 10 trainees.

Council’s Parks and Gardens spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said the project had been a great opportunity to improve the facilities at Sharon Gorge while making the walk more accessible to the public.

“During the recent rain events there has been damage to the Sharon Gorge walking track, and these works provide us the opportunity to improve the track and raise the height of the boardwalk, so it lasts longer,” Cr Honor said.

“Trainees from IMPACT Community Services have lent a helping hand to build the boardwalk in partnership with our Natural Areas team which is a fantastic opportunity for them to gain hands on experience.

“Upgrading the path by extending the boardwalk provides a safer and easily accessible path for our visitors.”

IMPACT Community Services is assisting in the project through their Work Skills Traineeships – Skilling Queenslanders for Work Program.

Supervisor Rob Alder said the project provided the opportunity for their trainees to gain hands on experience to assist in building up their self-confidence.

IMPACT Community Services' Certificate I in Conservation and Ecosystem Management trainees working with Bundaberg Regional Council at Sharon Gorge. Photo: Bundaberg Regional Council.
IMPACT Community Services' Certificate I in Conservation and Ecosystem Management trainees working with Bundaberg Regional Council at Sharon Gorge. Photo: Bundaberg Regional Council.

“We have got ten trainees in conservation and ecosystem management who are employed by IMPACT Community Services with the help of SQW funding from the Queensland Government,” Rob said.

“This group of trainees are into their fourteenth week and have been doing other tasks but are really enjoying being out here doing the boardwalk.

“Projects like these give them the opportunity to upskill which is really important as some of these people may have lost their self-esteem.”

Rob said the trainees had come from a range of different backgrounds and the projects were a chance for them to make a difference within the community.

“The trainees might be youths straight out of school who have found it tough to get into the workforce or sometimes it is mothers who are re-entering the workforce after bringing up their kids or it could be people who want to change career,” he said.

“They might have started off being a concreter or a brick layer or something like that, but as they get on a little bit their body is not up to what they used to do so they need a bit of guidance as they may be down in the dumps because they have tried so many jobs and they cannot seem to get a job.

“Some of them were a little bit hesitant at first because they had never used any carpentry tools or anything like that, they also had to work out how to go around an arc in a boardwalk and work out the boards.

“Now they have been doing it for a week now they feel right at home, and they can sit back and look and think ‘wow what a difference we have made’.”

IMPACT is a Registered Training Organisation, RTO Code: 0115.

For more information about our traineeship Certificate I in Conservation and Ecosystem Management, click here.

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya talks about the lifechanging impact a traineeship can provide.

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

At IMPACT we see thousands of people walk through our doors each year wanting to educate themselves, become better people, and improve their lives.

There are many ways in which IMPACT facilitates these transitions, and this week I am going to shine a light on our hardworking trainees.

Twice a year IMPACT employs 10 trainees to complete a Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management.

At each intake we receive a number of applications, of which the selected 10 are employed by IMPACT and begin working on various projects around the region.

The Work Skills Traineeship, fondly known as our Green Gang, provides paid employment opportunities to disadvantaged Queenslanders while at the same time funding projects that leave a visible and long-lasting impact on social infrastructure and services in our local community.

The Green Gang operates for 22 weeks on projects that create, repair and upgrade public spaces and facilities and undertake revegetation, regeneration and river or foreshore restorations.  

The group are not only working on property and landscapes, but themselves as well.

As a State Government Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative, applicants must meet certain requirements to be eligible.

This means the trainees that are selected are not necessarily the most experienced, professional, or competent, but show a willingness to learn, are reliable, and want to get the job done the right way.

Under the guidance and leadership of some of our most experienced staff, Green Gang trainees often transform their lives in one way or another.

An eagerness to work, time management and enthusiasm are all skills that participants tend to grow and improve on throughout the duration of the internship.

Individual workers become strong in a team environment, and those who might have previously given up during a tedious task start to work through their assignments with less opposition.

The trainees are supported through the journey and are given a pat on the back when a good job has been done.

Many begin the traineeship with low morale and little self-esteem but leave with beaming personalities and a drive to make the community a better place.

The varying age ranges in the Green Gang is also commendable.

The current group has a 40-year difference from the youngest, 17, to the oldest, 57, showing age really is just a number when it comes to giving something new a go.

It’s this willingness to try something different and get one’s hands dirty in the process that I find most inspiring.

If I could take one thing from the Green Gang it would be that through hard work, determination, and the right support, we can achieve anything we put our minds to.

Improving our lives starts with us.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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