EQIP’s big win at the Queensland Training Awards

Gladstone’s EQIP program is the best industry collaboration project in the state, and that’s official, after their win at the Queensland Training Awards last week.

Premier’s Industry Collaboration award winner, Melissa Dennis, leads this extraordinary authentic workplace learning program, helping young people into meaningful employment in partnership with industry and their school. Ninety per cent of EQIP graduates go on to jobs, apprenticeships or traineeships.

The EQIP team are currently preparing for a series of interviews with a panel of high level government officials, presenting EQIP to the nation in Canberra as finalists in the National Training Awards.

We at the Gladstone News think they will crack the national award too and bring home another trophy for this home-grown Gladstone phenomenon, and here’s why:

EQIP (which stands for Education Queensland Industry Partnership is unrivalled in the state.

“I haven’t heard of another organisation – or collaboration as we like to call it – across the state who are doing the same thing.”

“In terms of our peers in the award, there were similar programmes but they were specifically focussed on one industry so it was one host employer with one school,” Melissa Dennis said.

“We have seven programs, 10 industry sectors, 221 students, 42 host employers, 10 RTOs, three high schools and 5850 days of structured work experience, just this year, which is phenomenal.”

With forty-two employers on board including industry partners McCosker Contracting, Boyne Smelter and NRG hosting specialised on-site skill centres, participants in the program learn as they work and when they complete EQIP, in most cases they have a Certificate II – all whilst studying at high school.

When EQIP students graduate from the program they are work-ready – they have skill and capability, they’ve learned to come on time and be safe, they wear their PPE, they have completed First Aid training and vitally, they are engaged and have the right attitude.

EQIP students are encouraged to behave as if they are already employees of the business where they do their placements; from 2018 students will complete career development training to assist them to build their personal brand to prepare them for recruitment and selection out in the workforce.

The EQIP program always receives more applications than they have places available, because students see the value of the programme in the most important way – their EQIP peers have the edge in the job market: “They should be keen to get on it,” Ms Dennis said.

“It pushes their level of skill up, they build knowledge around the vocation and they become work ready so it makes an easier integration into the workplace when they leave school.”