Roadshow putting local jobs, support in spotlight
EMPLOYMENT and support for small businesses was at the forefront of the recent Jobs and Skills Roadshow.
Held at the Bundaberg Tafe on Thursday and hosted by Employment, Small Business and Training Minister Shannon Fentiman, the roadshow aimed to highlight opportunities and support for small business available for the region.
She said Bundaberg had been "doing it tough" during the coronavirus pandemic which has impacted economies across Australia and the world.
"That's why our plan: Unite and Recover Queensland Jobs is all about supporting skills growth, assisting our local industries and investing in future proofing infrastructure," Ms Fentiman said.
"Because of the great job we've done on the health response to COVID-19, we can now focus on our economic plan for recovery.
"Never before had this level of support been made available for Bundaberg.
"There are almost $200 million in small business grants on offer, energy rebates, payroll tax relief and we are supporting businesses to take on an apprentice or trainee through our Back to Work program with incentives of up to $20,000.
"We know skills and training will play a vital role in our recovery, and it was great to meet some of our Tafe engineering apprentices who are supported to get their training for free thanks to our free apprenticeships for under 21s initiative."
She said the free tafe and free apprenticeship initiative was giving almost 400 young Queenslanders in Bundaberg the skills they need to get a job and build a career.
"There will also be a $2.6 million investment in the campus including upgrades to their trade training facilities," Ms Fentiman said.
"This will ensure our engineering students will have access to world class training facilities including upgrades to safety and welding bays.
"Construction is due to begin early next year."
Ms Fentiman said the State Government also had a range of free, online training options through Tafe Queensland, CQUniversity and 400 courses from GO1 through the Small Businesses Skills Hub and Skills Focus Queensland portal.
"Supporting businesses through the challenges they are facing now will provide new opportunities for workers, customers, clients and suppliers in the future," she said.
"In the future we will also need skilled and job ready workers to take the next steps when recovery turns into growth.
"So, it is important we continue to support training pathways now, including apprenticeships and traineeships."
Undertaking a fabricating and boiler making apprenticeship, Krystal Davies said her interest in the field started in school when she took the subject in Year 10.
Ms Davies was drawn to the creative side of this profession, having made an anchor and a stool while in school, with her current apprenticeship she's working on cane harvesters at Canetec.
"I liked how you can take something and make something out of it," she said.
Ms Davies said when looking at a harvester she gets a sense of accomplishment and "all that work paid off" when it leaves to cut cane in Japan.
Kurt Trott is doing a Certificate III in engineering and fabrication after going to university and deciding that wasn't the path for hi,
He found his passion for boiler making while working on a farm for his parents, building dog boxes, trays for the work utes and yards.
Since gaining his apprenticeship at the start of last year, he hasn't looked back.
Enjoying hobbies like camping and four-wheel driving, Mr Trott is hoping to combine his two passion to one day build canopies and bullbars for the vehicle industry.
"You can take a trade anywhere really, no matter where you go as long as you've got a trade you've pretty much got a job," he said.
Similar to Ms Davies, Ana Kehl found her calling for engineering while in high school.
Enjoying the hands-on element to her work rather than being in a classroom, Ms Kehl said her stepfather, who is also in the trade, inspired her to take up an apprenticeship.
The apprentices said having courses like engineering in school helped guide them when deciding on what career path they wanted to take.