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Commonwealth Games legacy program changes lives of Indigenous job seekers

RAP recipients at Mossman Gorge

Thirteen Indigenous job seekers from southeast Queensland have received a huge boost to their employment prospects thanks to funding from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games’ Embracing 2018 legacy program.

The students were selected for a new four-week course at the Mossman Gorge Training Centre in Far North Queensland, which provides mentoring, workshops and practical skills sessions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers.

Mossman Gorge Centre General Manager Ben Pratt said the program had changed the lives of participants across the state.

“The funding from Embracing 2018 provided these participants with an incredible opportunity – most students hadn’t had any exposure to a workplace and some had ever been on a plane before so it was a life changing experience in many aspects,” he said.

“The learning areas we cover include personal presentation skills, communicating and working as a team. We also take them to visit local employers to talk about what it takes to succeed and train practical jobs like housekeeping, kitchen, food and beverage services.

“The participants also have a mentoring session once per week where they get the chance to talk about personal and professional challenges they may be experiencing. Every student is different and they can often be facing significant personal barriers.

“The four week program achieved a 100 per cent completion rate. We used it as a pilot and have applied for ongoing funding given the huge success we experienced. It’s exciting to think the funding from Embracing 2018 could lead to hundreds of lives being changed down the track.”

Project Coordinator Kim Dorward said “It’s a special feeling. I love meeting the students and often at first they can be shy and unsure,” she said. “Seeing how they are at the end is life changing for me as well as them. It’s about giving them the tools and path to find their own way. The environment at Mossman is very special in that it enables students to take a step back, just think about themselves and immerse themselves in the opportunity.”

With the course now complete, Ms Dorward said focus had now switched to ensuring participants received a tangible job outcome from their participation.

“During the course we worked on resume building and had been in touch with various employers to arrange interview opportunities,” she said.

Four participants are now undertaking traineeships at the National Indigenous Training Academy at Ayers Rock Resort, where they are employed by Voyages while undertaking industry recognised qualifications and working at the Resort and two participants were successful in securing direct hire roles at the Resort.   Three participants secured employment in Port Douglas and Brisbane with industry partners and the remaining four participants are awaiting outcomes of interviews within the industry.