The ‘Beautiful Ipswich’ initiative is much more than restoring the city’s streets and parks.
It’s an opportunity to restore confidence in Ipswich’s young and unemployed who desperately needed someone to give them a chance.
Partnering with the Queensland Fitness Sport and Recreation Skills Alliance, supported by funding from the Queensland Government Skilling Queenslanders for Work means Ipswich City Council was able to offer 11 keen trainees an 18 week traineeship.
They will work in the pilot suburbs of the program, Collingwood Park and Riverview.
This traineeship allows participants to gain a Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management, as well as a Construction White Card and ACDC (Chemical Licence).
QFSR Skills Alliance project manager Sonya Brewer said the skills and confidence gained during the project assisted participants to secure long-term employment once the traineeship had ended.
“The target group includes long-term unemployed, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, people from non-English speaking backgrounds, young people and the underemployed,” she said.
Current trainee Kelly Halse graduated university with a degree in audio engineering and found herself struggling to get a job. But with the assistance of the Beautiful Ipswich program she was able to pursue her new found interest in landscaping and network with likeminded people.
“It’s good because we’re part of a project that helps the environment, and is a foot in the door to the industry,” Ms Halse said.
“I saw the opportunity come up and it was something I really wanted to do, so I went for it.”
Division 3 Councillor Kerry Silver said the feedback from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The launch of the program was in 2016 and our first event was with the Riverview Neighbourhood Watch over at Rob and Denise Strong Park. It was a small planting project, to get the community engaged and to gain feedback from the community, which has been a really important part of the exercise as well,” she said.
“It’s been amazing how people are enjoying their parks and their communities looking refreshed.”
Cr Silver said the current trainees who have just finished restoring the Broad Family Park will now begin to work on new projects.
“These guys will next go onto Tessman Street near where the State Government did the pedestrian overpass and they’ll do some infill planting works in that little park there, and then they’ll come over to Maculata Park as well and do some projects there which will reduce some of our sediment load that’s actually going into local creeks and waterways as well.”
For more information on Beautiful Ipswich see www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/beautifulipswich.