Central Queensland women getting industry roles

When Gold Coast woman Georgia Alfred made the big move to Gladstone for a job opportunity in a new industry she was excited to start the next chapter of her life.

In an unexpected turn of events, Georgia’s new employer lost their contract just before she was due to start work. She was left in a new town, away from her support network, without a job and few opportunities that matched her existing qualifications.

Georgia was at a loss as to what to do next, until she heard about CTC’s Step Into Resources and Infrastructure program, which while was a pivot in her career direction was an opportunity she was keen to take, “My friend told me about CTC’s program, and I started the next day. I discovered I had so many transferrable skills and had been underestimating and underselling myself in previous job applications,” she said.

Delivered by CTC (part of the IntoWork Group), the free program, also known as Women In Construction, is designed to help disadvantaged women in Central Queensland by providing them with employability skills and confidence and increase female participation in Gladstone’s resources and infrastructure sector through entry-level jobs. In the program, participants develop industry-specific skills, qualifications and work-place experience alongside life skills and are connected with local employers looking for skilled candidates.

As Gladstone goes through another major infrastructure boom with projects such as Stanwell, Iwatani, Rodds Bay Solar Farm, Gladstone Port Project and Aldoga Solar Farm, the program’s employment component aims to give participants the specific work skills required by local employers to meet their labour shortage needs.

The program gave Georgia the confidence she needed to upskill and realise her potential with her resume, “I really liked the relaxed atmosphere of the program and, being new to town, meeting new people was a highlight for me. I learned a lot about resume writing, upskilling, and creating space for women in trades,” she said.

CTC Program Manager April Ibbotson said the program went beyond providing the key work skills required for employment, it provided holistic support and fostered personal development for the women involved in the program, “These were women who were just struggling to stay afloat with the current cost of living, some of them were in domestic violence situations and would go without food to feed their kids. Despite their hardships, they were motivated to change their lives through the program,” April said.

April said by the end of the program, participants had not only gained new skills but also developed a new sense of self-worth and confidence, “One lady couldn’t even walk to her mailbox at the start of the program and now the way she dresses and talks is unbelievable, she’s so confident. What these women have come from to where they are at now, we’re very proud at what they’ve achieved.”

As for Georgia, she experienced another career pivot during the program – Georgia realised she wanted to help others in their career path, and with the skills she learned during the program successfully applied for a role as Career Development Consultant where she will now work with next intake of Women in Construction, “I love my new job and I have a clear career direction and career goals I’ve never had before. I would recommend the program to anyone who is interested in a career change or heading back to work after unemployment.”

April said Georgia’s story is a testament to the transformative power of the program, “She just started her new job and is thriving. The program shows it doesn’t matter what background you come from, sometimes things don’t always work out. Programs like Women In Construction provides people with the opportunity to see what else is out there, and give you with the tools needed to get into sustainable employment.”

The next Women In Construction program will be held on 29th January 2024. For those interested, please call 1300 999 282.

The program is funded by Skilling Queenslanders for Work, an initiative of the Queensland Government Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small Business and Training.

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