Queensland high schoolers skilled up in Bundaberg, ready to work in ECEC
Bundaberg State High School (SHS) is Queensland’s first secondary school to sign up for a new program to train students for jobs in the in-demand community services sector, including some who will be studying early childhood education and care (ECEC).
Queensland’s Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman visited the school yesterday to meet with the first students to take part in the new Community Services project which is part of the popular Gateway to Industry Schools Program.
The Queensland Government has made an overall investment of $2.7 million in the program, which links school children with sectors and industries to “gives them a taste of what a future in this sector would be like while gaining valuable skills.”
“This program lays the foundations for our young Queenslanders to gain valuable skills and knowledge before they walk out of the classroom,” Ms Fentiman said.
More than 55 Bundaberg SHS students are the first to enrol in the new Community Services project, with more students expected to take part in the next group, with the aim of preparing them for careers in aged care, disability services, education support and childcare.
Five schools in the Bundaberg area have signed up for one or more of the Gateway to Industry Schools programs, joining more than 260 schools across Queensland who are participating.
“Our plan is to invest in the futures of young Queenslanders and make sure we have the skilled workforce for more jobs in more industries” Ms Fentiman said.
Jo McGrath, speaking on behalf of Bundaberg SHS said the year 11 and 12 students involved in the project would complete a Certificate II in Active Volunteering, Community Services or Health Support Services as part of the project.
“For many students, this leads to further studies at a Certificate III and higher qualifications, enabling them to continue their involvement in the community services sector,” Ms McGrath said.
“Plans are underway to connect students and teachers with more industry employers next year to enable the students to undertake 20 days of work experience in aged care nursing homes, disability services, education support and child care as part of the program” she added.
Bundaberg SHS principal, Karen McCord, said the community services focus presented an opportunity to simultaneously address two of the school’s priorities – encouraging youth community mindsets and enhancing student career outcomes.
“It is critical to ensure students are well prepared for a transition to work or study and can successfully compete for roles from a local, to a global market,” Ms McCord said.
“Exposure to the community services sector enables students to gain a variety of skills critical to support their school to employment pathway and creates the spark that leads to employment in this high demand area.”
In the Bundaberg and Wide Bay Burnett region alone, Minister Fentiman said, there is projected demand for more than 3,500 additional jobs in support of the NDIS in the aged care and disability services sector.
Over 14 years the Gateway to Industry Schools Program has grown from 42 to more than 260 schools providing thousands of young Queenslanders with valuable skills and knowledge for their future careers.
Further information about the program is available here.