Boost to training initiative a helping hand in disaster recovery

Thursday 13 April, 2017

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has welcomed the announcement by the State Government that it will boost the $240 million ‘Skilling Queenslanders for Work’ initiative by a further $10 million.

CCIQ Senior Policy Advisor Catherine Pham said CCIQ, in a submission to government, has called for the State Government to commit to the funding allocated to Skilling Queenslanders for Work.

“Our ongoing advocacy on behalf of small business has been centred around more initiatives, similar to Skilling Queenslanders for Work, that small businesses could also apply for,” she said.

“We know that businesses are recognising the importance of upskilling their staff, so programs that can assist them in doing so is vitally needed.”

In making the announcement today, Minister for Training and Skills Yvette D’Ath highlighted that the boost to the program was a ‘community recovery package’ targeted towards communities affected by Cyclone Debbie.

Ms Pham said  the State Government had rightly allocated funding for community-based organisations and councils to run training programs that will help job-seekers get trained and job-ready while damaged infrastructure is being rebuilt.

“We  have heard from councils, industry organisations and businesses about how the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program has been a success for them,” she said.

“As we heard from the minister, 6200 Queenslanders have secured employment through this initiative.

“It’s great to see the success of this program being leveraged in this way, ensuring that once businesses are back up and running that there will be sufficiently skilled staff ready to go as well.”

Ms Pham highlights that the funding under the Skilling Queenslanders for Work’s ‘Community Recovery Package’ will be provided in 2016-17 through to the end of the 2017-18 financial year.

“The Government has extended this community recovery package out to mid-2018 which acknowledges the long, tough road ahead for these cyclone-affected communities,” she said.

“Businesses operating in the affected townships were already experiencing employment difficulties prior to TC Debbie hitting, mainly due to skills gaps.

"We know training is currently a high priority on the government agenda, particularly as Queensland’s economy is making its post-mining transition, so it is no surprise this is one of the directions the government is taking.”

The Community Recovery Package would encompass the Work Skills program, where councils and community-based organisations offer traineeships and paid on-the-job experience, and the First Start program, where councils to offer 12-month paid employment while participants undertake a nationally recognised qualification.

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