As part of our cover feature, Gladstone News talked to four local graduates of EQIP, the Education Queensland Industry Partnership about how they’re making their work dreams come true.
Unique to Gladstone and a benchmark for industry collaboration Australia-wide, graduates are thrilled at the opportunities and structured workplace learning they’ve been given by participating in the program.
Lewis Cooper participated in EQIP Business, Industry and Tourism Skill Centre (EBITS) onsite at Boyne Smelters Limited (BSL). He’s one of 305 students to have completed the program since 2011 delivered by industry partners and educators from Tannum Sands State High.
At the end of year 12, Lewis started work with the Gladstone Ports Corporation in Human Resources: “I work in an amazing job, in the best team anyone could ever ask for, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
Isiah Ghee is another graduate who was quick to parlay the employment-readiness and work skills he learned at EQIP into a full-time gig. He completed the PREQIP program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students when he was in Year 10, following it up with an EQIP Process Plant Operations (EPMA) program in year 12, and is proud to have recently secured a Process Operator Traineeship with Queensland Alumina Ltd.
PREQIP and EPMA were developed in partnership with Australia Pacific LNG, QGC, Santos GLNG and local community partners. Students build confidence and capability, learn about careers pathways and gain qualifications and industry experience. Since 2011, 89 students have completed PREQIP and 82 have completed EPMA.
Regular readers of Gladstone News would remember Olivia Atanasov, Toolooa State High School’s most outstanding vocational student for 2017. Olivia participated in the EPMA program and following graduation secured an electrical apprenticeship with NRG Gladstone Power Station. She is the first female electrical apprentice at NRG since 2010. Olivia’s structured training program, EPMA was made possible by delivery of a nationally recognised qualification by CQUniversity with Queensland Alumina Limited providing a structured workplace learning program.
“I reckon if you’re after a trade, EQIP is the way to go as it definitely sets you up and you get just as much work experience as you can in a trade you want to work in, so you can decide to how to start planning for your future.
Our last graduate, Cameron Smith, participated in EQIP Doorways to Civil Construction (ED2CC) onsite at McCosker Contracting in year 10, with training delivered by Gladstone State High School. He then transitioned to EQIP Engineering Skills Centre (EESC) onsite at NRG Gladstone Power Station for year 11 and 12.
Cameron has managed to secure the very first Fitter and Turner apprenticeship with QGC since operations commenced. Cameron’s advice to students is, “Work hard as learn as much as you can from your mentor and workplace. Always be safety conscious and aware of your surroundings. Get involved, ask questions and take all opportunities you can that you are given.”
The small team at EQIP manage the collaboration between education and industry, creating opportunities for high school students to gain employability skills, experience, and knowledge. “This creates a pipeline of skilled young adults to transition from secondary education into the workforce or further study,” EQIP’s Melissa Dennis said.