By 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.