Bundaberg Regional Council has received funding for 20 trainees and three apprentices to begin work in the New Year as part of the First Start program.
The State Government initiative will see more than $7.1 million fund 365 traineeships and 110 apprenticeships across Queensland.
Since 2015, First Start has supported 2,426 young people and disadvantaged job seekers.
Bundaberg Regional Council has employed 157 trainees and apprentices in a range of fields during this time.
This includes an intake of 26 people during the height of Covid in 2020, when many other businesses were reducing staff numbers.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the program was a great opportunity for local jobseekers to explore a wide range of roles within the community.
“Bundaberg Regional Council is one of the biggest employers in the region and funding from the First Start program ensures we are able to continue providing job opportunities to locals,” he said.
“We offered our second zoo traineeship which was extremely popular, and we have also extended these roles into our libraries and cleaning departments.
“Along with our trades services, parks and gardens, administration, water service roles and more, there is plenty of career diversity at council to help trainees and apprentices get their first start in an area that interests them most.”
Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer recently met with Mayor Dempsey to discuss the job opportunities in the region.
She said Bundaberg was one of 63 councils to benefit from the First Start program.
“The First Start program aims to provide young people and disadvantaged job seekers with opportunities to gain a nationally recognised qualification and 12 to 24 months paid employment,” Minister Farmer said.
“That’s a total of 475 new jobs created across Queensland and new careers getting started.”
Part of Skilling Queenslanders for Work, the First Start program enables participants to undertake a subsidised traineeship or apprenticeship with a local council of or statutory authority, or a subsided traineeship with a not-for-profit community-based organisation.
The Queensland Government Statistician’s Office December 2021 SQW Survey Report found 91.4 per cent of First Start participants were employed after completing their traineeships.
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) assists with the bidding and allocation of First Start traineeship and apprenticeship places across interested councils.
LGAQ CEO Alison Smith said the First Start program made a big difference to Queensland communities with councils able to offer training across more than 240 occupational areas.
“In many parts of Queensland, councils are the biggest employers in the community,” Ms Smith said.
“First Start is another way of giving people the jobs, training and skills they need while helping them stay in the communities they love, particularly in First Nation councils, remote and regional areas.”
Minister Farmer said the First Start program supported many focus areas from the Good people. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022-2032.
“Councils will now manage the recruitment for their positions and choose the qualifications they need to add to their workforce, to ensure that regional needs are met,” Minister Farmer said.
“This program supports workforce participation with key regional employers and recorded strong diversity outcomes with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people making up more than 19 per cent of participants.
“First Start also fosters local solutions and apprenticeships and traineeships are important pathways for school-leavers and other young people to make a strong start in the workforce.
“This is an exciting announcement for our regions and people interested in launching a career with the local government sector, which delivers a fantastic range of services for our communities.”
Skilling Queenslanders for Work funds skills development, training and job opportunities for unemployed, disengaged or disadvantaged Queenslanders through a suite of targeted skills and training programs.
Seventy-six per cent of participants find work or take on further training around 12 months after exiting a Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.
For further information visit www.qld.gov.au/skillingqueenslanders or call 1300 369 935.