Green thumbs reveal ingenious ‘turtle’ project to Minister
ROCKHAMPTON gardening trainees received a visit from the Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development Wednesday morning.
It was the second stop in Shannon Fentiman’s day as she acclaimed the government’s allocation of funding towards the state’s economic recovery.
Earlier, the Minister visited the Rockhampton Jockey Club which received $8,500 towards strategic planning and software upgrades, as part of the Small Business COVID-19 Adaptation grants.
Then she spoke to Multicultural Australia trainees who will soon graduate from their Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management studies.
It was a rare opportunity for the trainees to attend to the Armstrong Street community gardens as they have been busy on other sites.
In association with the Rockhampton Regional Council – which gave them access to a trailer full of gardening equipment – the trainees have planted trees around Gracemere’s new BMX pump track, as well as managing weeds around other sites.
The trainees showed the visitors their ‘turtle’, an ingenious structure made from recycled tyres which stabilises the ground and is planted out with native species.
It is part of an Indigenous species garden which also features a yarning circle where trainees can gather and share their gardening tips and tricks.
“The group have grown into a great team with some real green thumbs that are already leading to some new job opportunities,” said Multicultural Australia’s regional manager Jill Armstrong.
“The mix of hands-on experience and training on this project is a great introduction to the local workforce and helping out our community boosts their self-confidence.”
Another of Multicultural Australia’s training programs, Tucker Time, was awarded an award for top regional program in the Queensland Training awards announced last week.
Ms Fentiman was accompanied by Minister for Regional Development Glenn Butcher who announced the government would spend $10 million to extend the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program which provides employment opportunities for unemployed, disengaged or disadvantaged students.
Ms Fentiman said about 1,250 locals were among more than 30,000 Queenslanders who had gained work thanks to the SQW program.
“Skilling Queenslanders for Work existed under the Bligh Labor government but it was scrapped when the LNP came into power,” she said.
“That was a devastating impact, not only for the trainees but also the passionate and dedicated staff who often assist these young people with help in getting into stable accommodation and overcoming personal challenges.
“We came back into government in 2015 and reinstated the program and it’s been going from strength to strength ever since.
“We have several funding rounds every year which let people put forward new ideas but I am also pushing for the Department to transition our longer term partners to more sustainable employment contracts.”
To enquire about eligibility for and enrolment in the next round of traineeships offered by Multicultural Australia’s Rockhampton office, phone 49212222.