Students Cara Grey (left) and Gabrielle Pitt with the chamber’s Lyndal Hansen (second from left) and EQIP’s Cherie Topfer (right).
Students Cara Grey (left) and Gabrielle Pitt with the chamber’s Lyndal Hansen (second from left) and EQIP’s Cherie Topfer (right). Contributed

Workshops focus on future skills needed in Gladstone

WORKFORCE planning was on the cards for the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry last week as it joined forces with the Education Queensland and Industry Partnership to host a series of focus groups to determine the future skills needed in five key industry sectors.

Business owners, high-level managers and human resource staff were joined by EQIP students for the focus groups that were run over three days.

The chamber provided snippets of information from the Boom or Bust - Gladstone Region Business Study survey, highlighting the present business environment in the region.

Business and industry representatives were able to provide an insight into the future skills required, inciting fresh ideas as to what is required to meet these needs in terms of local education and workforce development.

Directional insights during the focus groups captured the globalisation of the construction industry; corporatisation of the health and community industry and the importance of relationships, communication and emotional intelligence; the change in marketing and customer focus of the hospitality and retail industry; reshaping and diversification of the professional and support services industry; and globalisation and rapid change in technology in the resources industry.

EQIP students gained a new appreciation of what they need to do to be preferred candidates for future positions, and provided feedback to the group on career development and education from a young person's perspective.

Business and industry representatives were impressed with the attitude and level of understanding of EQIP students, with one industry representative stating: "It's important to have young people excited."

The results of the focus groups, along with the Boom or Bust study, will be used by the chamber to build a range of initiatives to develop programs and services to support small-to-medium businesses in the future.

It is exciting for the chamber to be working closely with EQIP to match the workforce needs of businesses in Gladstone to our future workforce - current high school students of Gladstone.

The partnership between the two organisations continues next week, with EQIP hosting the chamber network meeting on Tuesday, May 13.

EQIP will provide information on its six education programs and how local businesses can benefit as partners and work experience hosts.

For more info on the meetings visit