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New school program for community services

Bundaberg State High School
Minister Shannon Fentiman with Bundaberg State High School students Brooke McCracken and Morgan Hillyard who are completing a certificate 2 in Health Support Services.

Bundaberg State High School is Queensland's first secondary school to sign up for a new program to train students for jobs in the community services industry.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman visited the school this week to meet with the first students to take part in the new Community Services project which is part of the popular Gateway to Industry Schools Program.

“This program lays the foundations for our young Queenslanders to gain valuable skills and knowledge before they walk out of the classroom,” Ms Fentiman said.

“Our overall investment of $2.7 million in this fantastic program links school kids with industry and gives them a taste of what a future in this sector would be like while gaining valuable skills.

“The group of more than 55 Bundaberg SHS students are the first to enrol in the new Community Services project, with more students expected to take part in the next group.

“This will mean that local students will have a fantastic head start in securing a job in aged care, disability services, education support and childcare — jobs that we know are in demand.

“Already more than 260 schools across Queensland across, including five in Bundaberg, are signed up to one or more of the Gateway to Industry Schools program.

Bundaberg State High School
Minister Shannon Fentiman with students Tia Goobanko and Shania Mulholland who are completing a certificate 2 in Health Support Services.

“Our plan is to invest in the futures of young Queenslanders and make sure we have the skilled workforce for more jobs in more industries.”

Bundaberg State High School's Head of Vocational Education and Training, Jo McGrath, said there were 57 students across Years 11 and 12 taking part in the project. They are undertaking Certificate II in Active Volunteering, Community Services or Health Support Services as part of the project.

“For many students, this leads to further studies at a Certificate III and higher qualifications, enabling them to continue their involvement in the community services sector,” Ms McGrath said.

“Plans are under way to connect students and teachers with more industry employers next year to enable the students to undertake 20 days of work experience in aged care nursing homes, disability services, education support and child care as part of the program.”

Bundaberg State High School Principal Karen McCord said the community services focus presented an opportunity to simultaneously address two of the school’s priorities – encouraging youth community mindsets and enhancing student career outcomes.

“It is critical to ensure students are well prepared for a transition to work or study and can successfully compete for roles from a local, to a global market,” Ms McCord said.

“Exposure to the community services sector enables students to gain a variety of skills critical to support their school to employment pathway and creates the spark that leads to employment in this high demand area.”

Ms Fentiman said the expansion of the Gateway to Industry Schools Program was announced last year as part of the Skills for Queensland strategy, with the four new priority industry areas of screen media, information and communication technology, health, and community services.

“With the rollout of the NDIS, we know we will need more skilled workers in aged and disability care,” the Minister said.

“In Bundaberg and Wide Bay Burnett region alone, there is a projected demand of more than 3500 additional jobs to support the NDIS.”

Gateway to Industry Schools projects:

  • Screen and media (new)
  • Information and communication technology (new)
  • Health (new)
  • Community services (new)
  • Aerospace
  • Agribusiness
  • Building and construction
  • Food, wine and tourism
  • Manufacturing and engineering
  • Minerals and energy

Four schools have now signed up to join the GISP Community Services project including Bundaberg North State High School and Shalom College.

Over 14 years the Gateway to Industry Schools Program has grown from 42 to more than 260 schools providing thousands of young Queenslanders with valuable skills and knowledge for their future careers.

For more information visit: https://desbt.qld.gov.au/training/employers/gateway-schools.

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