11 Mar EQIP Gladstone’s award-winning skills centre program looks for new facility
EQIP (Education Queensland Industry Partnership) is a non-profit world class initiative, providing a central point of contact to facilitate collaboration between Education Queensland, local community organisations, business and industry to provide alternative education opportunities and career pathways for students in Gladstone Region. The combined goal is to retain the next generation workforce and support the economic development of the Gladstone region.
EQIP currently oversee seven Authentic Workplace Learning Programs based on business and industry sites around the Gladstone Region, as well as facilitating a Work Experience Service on behalf of eight schools.
EQIP’s flagship program – The Engineering Skills Centre (EESC), was one of the first to commence back in 2003 as a partnership between Education Queensland and NRG Power Station. The program has seen over 770 local school students through its doors throughout this time. The program recruits 30 new students annually for the two-year program where students complete a Certificate II in Engineering Pathways in a real industry setting on site at NRG. EESC boasts an impeccable success rate of 83% of students achieving apprenticeships after their graduation. EESC students are highly sought after by local employers, and it would be difficult to find a trade business in Gladstone who has not recruited a Skills Centre student.
The success of the EESC program can be attributed to the strong collaboration between schools, business and industry, including Rio Tinto, NRG, Gladstone Ports Corporation Ltd, Ergon and Cement Australia.
Students have access to two workshops with industry standard manufacturing equipment such as milling machines, lathes, guillotines, welders etc (most of which has been donated by local industry). Students commence each morning with a toolbox talk and must adhere to all site WHS policies, procedures and standards including PPE, Drug and Alcohol Testing and realistic employment standards (managing own workloads, presentation, work ethic). They are placed in work groups and given tasks for the day, students also complete a variety of pledge work tasks for local community groups and industry. This facility provides students a real work environment that is not emulated in a school setting, it encourages maturity, growth and an an appreciation of various trade pathways, as well as industry safety standards – before commencing an apprenticeship.
After 18 years of successfully operating the Skills Centre on site at the NRG power station, the building is nearing the end of its life expectancy and will be unable to accommodate EQIP students for much longer. As such, EQIP is in search of a new partnership, to host this award-winning program from 2022, and to be a part of its ongoing success.
EQIP is currently looking to make contact with local business and industry within Gladstone, to discuss the future of the program and potential opportunities available for a transition to a new authentic workplace environment.
Nicole Allison, Operations Manager, 0418 745 848 www.eqipgladstone.com.au