New jobs project for scrub hill

THE SCRUB Hill Indigenous community has again risen from the ashes - launching a ground-breaking jobs project to replace the national Community Development Employment Projects program the government axed in June.

“This is good news. This is great. I can now work again,” the new project's supervisor Lloyd Bonner said yesterday.

“This is the beginning of getting ourselves going again,” said Scrub Hill's jobs programs co-ordinator Steven Vea Vea.

“For a while there we looked like going nowhere but now we're talking with government departments and the council about finding jobs for people, indigenous and non-indigenous, who are learning new skills out here at Scrub Hill.”

“We've gone into partnership with the Dhugamin Corporation here at Scrub Hill to set up a seven-week Certificate 2 course in Horticulture,” Skill Centred Queensland's Fraser Coast training co-ordinator Michel Irving said.

“More than 30 jobseekers who experience barriers to employment were referred for this project.

“The interest has been so strong I'm hoping to repeat the program after we finish this one.”

The trainees are funded through Skill Centred by the Department of Employment and Work Relations' Access Program, which aims to fit them out for future apprenticeships. They are working in Scrub Hill's nursery, which supplies native plants to the council and private businesses.

“The trainees can earn up to five units in this horticulture ticket and can then decide if they want to take their studies further by perhaps going on to TAFE,” Ms Irving said.

Mr Vea Vea said that of the 30 trainees at the Hill, only four were indigenous.

“This project, like the others we are trying to bring together, is for anyone in the community, no matter what their ethnicity.

Ms Irving said the course would finish in December and then Skill Centred would “support” the trainees for a further 13 weeks or until they found work or decided to take their studies further.

'The interest has been so strong I'm hoping to repeat the program after we finish this one.'


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