NEW PROSPECTS: Exceed Fencing director Kenny Urquhart has taken on carpentry apprentice Sturt Chettle.
NEW PROSPECTS: Exceed Fencing director Kenny Urquhart has taken on carpentry apprentice Sturt Chettle. GEA

Funding windfall means more traineeships and more jobs

STURT Chettle had been looking for work for about two months before he came across a training program with Gladstone Engineering Alliance.

Now, thanks to the experience he has been given a carpentry apprenticeship with GEA member Exceed Fencing.

"In the beginning (of the traineeship) I was hopeful but I didn't think it would lead to an apprenticeship," he said, on account of the depressed construction climate in Gladstone.

"The GEA traineeship program really opened doors for me ... (getting the apprenticeship) gives me something to work towards and it also gives me a future."

Yesterday Sturt, along with 35 other trainees, graduated from GEA traineeship programs, which were funded through the Queensland Government's Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.

GEA, a not-for-profit, has started the year in fine form.

Yesterday it announced it will receive $552,000 to employ 30 trainers under the SQfW initiative.

GEA plans to employ 30 trainers for a period of 18 weeks in the training areas of business and conservation and land management.

GEA also announced yesterday the results of its 2017 trainee program that saw 80 per cent of participants gain work.

The 80 per cent success rate included eight trainees who moved into full-time traineeships in business and hospitality with another seven trainees gaining apprenticeships in areas as diverse as carpentry, plumbing, painting, diesel fitting, heavy vehicle mechanics and telecommunications.

GEA employment coordinator Shana Gelin said the program did more than just help secure employment for trainees.

"The benefits of the Skilling Queenslanders for Work project is it not only helped people secure employment in 2017 but also assisted future employers, including GEA members, to identify trainees as future employees," she said.

"GEA are always working towards our vision of building a highly skilled and capable workforce and from speaking with our members, GEA identified that unemployment and the availability of skilled workers was an important issue impacting Gladstone's business community."

Minister for small business Shannon Fentiman announced yesterday $30.66million had been allocated to organisations in the latest round of the Skilling Queenslanders for Work funding.