GP Links Wide Bay general manager Karyn Calcino is upset about cuts to training funding.
GP Links Wide Bay general manager Karyn Calcino is upset about cuts to training funding. Robyne Cuerel

Looming health skills shortage

A FRASER Coast training group has warned the health industry will face a major shortage in skilled support workers in the next few years due to the loss of State Government funding.

Health Industry Training Queensland was one of hundreds of registered training organisations forced to stop offering some courses or close altogether when Skilling Queenslanders for Work funding was scrapped earlier this year.

General manager Karyn Calcino has now said the impact of the decision would dramatically increase the regional skill shortage in positions such as physiotherapy, nutrition, podiatry, nursing assistants and other allied health and community services.

"Our concern is jobseekers and the health industry," she said. "The shortage is extremely high.

"The unemployment rate here is going to skyrocket."

The business put through more than 150 students across the Wide Bay area last year using about $500,000 of Skilling Queenslanders for Work funding.

Now, it will only be able to provide training to people already in the industry but some organisations closed their doors, due to the funding loss, Ms Calcino said.

"We have had to put off several good trainers," she said.

"We are one of the lucky RTOs I guess."

Ms Calcino stressed that jobseekers would not be able to get into the industry without qualifications.

She wrote to every state and federal MP in the Wide Bay and Premier Campbell Newman following the cut.

She told the MPs the loss of the funding would have a significant impact on regional areas.

Premier Newman wrote back to Ms Calcino, assuring her that the government's decision to cease funding to the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program was not made lightly.

"(It) was made primarily on the basis that employment initiatives are the responsibility of the Federal Government," he said.

"Given the budget position, we simply cannot afford to continue funding a program which is ultimately the responsibility of the Federal Government."

Maryborough MP Anne Maddern told Ms Calcino she had forwarded the letter to Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek.

Ms Calcino said the organisation received no funding for jobseekers from the Federal Government.

Healthy Industry Training Queensland was created by GP Links Wide Bay in 2010 to deliver certificate III qualifications in allied health assistance and health services assistance.



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