BUNDLE OF JOY: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk holds Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga's daughter Odette.
BUNDLE OF JOY: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk holds Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga's daughter Odette. Allan Reinikka ROK021117apalaszc

Premier visits CQ to reveal expanded jobs plan

THE state election circus came to Rockhampton this morning.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk stepped off her tour bus at the Dreamtime Cultural Centre followed by a massive entourage and media contingent to describe how the Queensland Government's Skilling Queenslanders for Work program was delivering positive employment outcomes for Central Queenslanders.

One of the young workers the Premier visited, Glen Pinkerton, 22, said he'd moved to the region from Brisbane seeking a fresh start and had struggled to find work for two-and-a-half months before he was referred to the program.

READY FOR WORK: Glen Pinkerton at Dreamtime Centre.
READY FOR WORK: Glen Pinkerton at Dreamtime Centre. Allan Reinikka ROK021117apinkert

The program targets unemployed, underemployed, disengaged youth, people with disabilities, mature aged job seekers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people from diverse backgrounds, providing on-the-job training and qualifications.

Mr Pinkerton said there were 12 people in his group who commenced a Certificate I in Construction in early September, which would take 18 weeks to complete.

"To be honest I quite enjoy it, it just feels good to be back out and working again and learning too, we do a bit of everything really,” Mr Pinkerton said.

He pointed at some of the rejuvenated areas around the cultural centre.

PROUD WORKER: Glen Pinkerton at Dreamtime Centre.
PROUD WORKER: Glen Pinkerton at Dreamtime Centre. Allan Reinikka ROK021117apinkert

"We dug up the original pavers, put the planter box in here, put a deck here and we've done this concrete slab, down behind the radio station we've got a bridge and we've been doing some mulching,” he said proudly.

After he finished, Mr Pinkerton hoped to land some concreting work or to secure employment in the mining industry.

Premier Palaszczuk was pleased with the success of the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program saying it had helped 11,000 people find work and her government ambitiously planned to investment $180m more to expand the program to secure employment for 50,000 Queenslanders by 2021.

"I'm honestly very proud of this program, it is life changing,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Nothing drives me more than ensuring that people have jobs in our state and we've got to let young people and those who are long term unemployed get the skills that they need to get back into the market.

"I've met with some of the guys here that are undertaking the Skilling Queenslanders for Work here at Dreamtime and they're getting the training and learning the skills that they need for the opportunity to get full time work into the future.

"You only have to talk to any of the young men standing here behind us to find out the confidence that work gives you but also the opportunity to pursue more Tafe courses, finish their certificates and get into employment.”

PROUD OF PROGRAM: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at Dreamtime Centre.
PROUD OF PROGRAM: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at Dreamtime Centre. Allan Reinikka ROK021117apalaszc

The Premier warned that despite the recognised benefits to the community, this program was axed when Tim Nicholls was Queensland Treasurer and she said Mr Nicholls would not renew programs like this one when the funding ran out in 2019.

Minister for Training and Skills Yvette D'Ath said based on current data, the program had a 70% success rate for assisting participants into employment.



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