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Joint partnership creates local job opportunities

02 June 2016

Challenge Employment and Training has partnered with Ripley Valley's principal developer Sekisui House to generate 90 new trainee positions for local residents with State Government support.
The State Government has contributed $780,000 to the project under the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative, which aims to provide training to people who are under-utilised or under-employed.
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard was delighted to hear that Skilling Queenslanders for Work had once again enabled disenfranchised Queenslanders to find employment.
“When the Palaszczuk Government came into power in 2015, one of our core commitments to Queenslanders was Jobs.
“By restarting the Skilling Queenslanders for Work Initiative, our government and challenge have been able to consistently work together over the past year to deliver a number of programs and ensure that we’re getting our people into jobs.
“The dedication that Challenge Employment and Training has to providing disadvantaged people a chance to show their capabilities is truly heartening, and I must commend Sekisui House for their contribution in enabling these 90 trainees with the right equipment to learn their new trade,” Ms Howard said.
Along with this, the initiative builds the skills of young, disadvantaged, culturally and linguistically diverse people and Indigenous job seekers.
Challenge's CEO Richard Lindner was delighted his organisation has been given the opportunity to assist jobseekers in the region.
"We are committed to facilitating job opportunities in the local community that will allow jobseekers to enter the workforce," Mr Lindner said.
"Our partnership with Sekisui House aims to provide career opportunities for local residents and allow jobseekers to enhance their vocational skills and knowledge and work on a project that allows them to give back to the community.”
Challenge is currently one of the largest providers of Skilling Queenslanders for Work and have partnered with Sekisui House and All Trades Queensland to build new job opportunities in the local area.
Trainees will undertake a Conservation and Land Management traineeship along Bundamba Creek adjacent to Sekisui House’s Ecco Ripley development.
The Government, Challenge, Sekisui House and All Trades are determined to provide Queenslanders who face difficulties entering the workforce with new vocational skills, and other assistance they require to ensure they are work-ready and achieve their job dreams.
Sekisui House Australia CEO and managing director Toru Abe believes that the Challenge program has many advantages to both participants and the Ipswich community.
“The Ripley Valley is earmarked as a growth corridor for the Ipswich region with many job opportunities becoming available, particularly in the landscaping and construction industries,” Mr Abe said.
“We hope that through this program, we can provide the knowledge, resources and experience to better equip the people of Ipswich for future job opportunities.
“We’re very hopeful that this will have a positive impact on not only the people participating in this program, but also the Ipswich community by resulting in a lower unemployment rate.”
Sekisui House’s contribution to the program includes the supply of all student working gear and equipment, all necessary machinery work to assist the program, purchasing all plants and required materials as well as hiring professional consultants to provide knowledge and support to the trainees.
The program will not only aim to create new job opportunities and training for local residents but to also rescue and restore the Bundamba Creek area for the benefit of the local environment and the whole community.
"Bundamba Creek is a valued and treasured part of not only Ecco Ripley, but the entire local community and the traineeship program is a great initiative to ensure it is protected for years to come,” Mr Abe said.
The Conservation and Land Management traineeship will run for approximately 15 weeks. The first round of 30 students completed their traineeships in mid-April and the second intake of 60 students started early May. 
Seventeen-year-old Liam Baker recently graduated from the program and believes Challenge is a great way for students to learn various skills and grow confidence.
“I worked on the Ecco Ripley project for almost four months and really enjoyed the experience,” Mr Baker said.
“I have gained so many skills in such little time, including plant identification, weed control, chemical control and learning about all the different species of plants.
“Before I started this course, I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between two trees.
“The hands-on experience and friendly team environment is what I valued most in the traineeship and I’ve been lucky enough to secure a full-time apprenticeship from the experience.” 
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