​​​​​​​​​Young peop​le get set for rewarding careers

​Dis​advantaged youth are setting​​ their sights on careers in priority industry areas like child care thanks to the PCYC Gladstone Get Set for Work project.

"Working in child care is a dream come true, so I'm very grateful for the start the Get Set for Work project has given me."
​​​ Dani Holland

Funded under the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work, the project provides intensive employment and training assistance over 12 months to disadvantaged young people aged 15–19 years across Gladstone. 

With two 2016 intakes of 20 participants, the project puts young people on a path to employment by providing job preparation skills and accredited training in industries experiencing high local demand.

​​For the likes of Dani Holland, who was among the first i​ntake, that industry was child care — and participating has paid tremendous dividends in the form full-time employment as a school-aged care assistant and branch support officer.

Dani and her fellow participants were offered up to six months of case-managed support while undertaking either a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care or a Certificate III in Education Support over 16 weeks.​​

“I thought I blew all my chances of something good, some sort of career, when I dropped out of school,” said Dani, who turned 18 in December 2016.

“I had been scared and felt like there was too much pressure on me at school, but this program helped me feel like I can do something and helped me learn at my own pace.

“Now I have a qualification, a paying job and the opportunity to be able to complete a diploma — a better future.

“Working in child care is a dream come true, so I’m very grateful for the start the Get Set for Work project has given me.”

PCYC Gladstone Get Set for Work project coordinator Sarah Patterson-Kane said the program applied a holistic approach, offering four weeks of leadership activities in addition to accredited training, including workshops with local business mentors.

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“The project is about much more than providing support to gain a nationally recognised qualification; it’s about readying young people to enter the workforce,” Sarah said.

“The leadership activities aim to build self-esteem and confidence, and promote awareness of things like workplace etiquette, drug and alcohol issues, personal hygiene, grooming, cooking and nutrition.

“A camp and jobs skills week are included, covering resume writing, interview exercises and job search support.”

For many young people, the project is also about overcoming barriers, such as mental health, financial security and housing issues.

“Participants come from various backgrounds and require different types of extra support, which can be tailored by virtue of the case management model,” Sarah said.

“We’ve had people who struggled to attend school previously, recording up to 106 days truancy, but have been able to stay engaged in our program, complete their qualification and go onto paid employment.

“Past participants have formed community and social connections, and gone on to grow both personally and professionally.

“Through projects like this, the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative is changing lives for people who are disadvantaged and giving them a real chance to achieve their goals.” 

As at 28 October 2016, 13 of the project’s first 20 participants were employed, with all completing competencies and half a full certificate III qualification.

Qualifications in community services, retail and warehousing are among the mix offered to the next wave of project participants, with additional funding offered under Skilling Queenslanders for Work’s Get Set for Work​ program for a new project starting January 2017.

​Article first published on 10 January 2017.

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Last updated
19 March 2018