There’s little that’s more heartening for an employer than to find good young people and help them get a little closer to finding a rewarding career.
A core part of Noosa & District Landcare Group’s [NDLG] development over the last decade has been the decision to train more people in our industry.
We have been involved in many training programs over the years. Some have not been as good as others. The National Green Army program lacked the local knowledge and management to really achieve results.
The Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work [SQW] program and the First Start program are both well run, efficient programs.
NDLG engages a Supervisor [or two in some cases] and approximately 9 participants. We have had trainees in Administration, however the bulk of our participants undertake the Conservation and Land Management [CALM] stream. Under this program, the SQW people receive a Certificate 1 in CALM [Now changed to Conservation & Ecosystem Management], a Construction White Card, First Aid and an Agricultural Chemical and Distribution Certificate [AC/DC], as well as practical hands-on experience in the field. These qualifications are required by our clients before they can work on certain sites.
In an uncertain age, we have seen the emergence of the term ‘eco-anxiety’ when interviewing people for these positions. Young people ARE concerned about Climate change, increased floods, heat events, bush fires, and they want to actively contribute to the answer to these issues. And Noosa does have a good track record of protecting our environment.
During the Covid 19 years, NDLG have been very fortunate to be able to create a ‘Covid safe’ work environment so that we have actually increased our workforce during this period.
At each ‘graduation’ of a group of SQW people, I find myself saying ‘this has been the best group we have had’, again.
We have really benefitted from a terrific bunch of young, and not so young people, coming through the system. Many of these people go on to find meaningful employment with Councils, Regional bodies, State government, contractors, or us! Indeed, one of the benefits of the training program is that NDLG gets to ‘try before we buy’. If I interview someone for 30 minutes, I have no real handle on what they are really like. If they work for us for 22 weeks, we sure know what they are like. The ones that are punctual, interested, inquisitive, keen and above all, willing to learn, soon become noticed.
As a wise person once said ‘At Noosa Landcare, we don’t just grow trees, we grow people’.
At times, I get disheartened at events and direction of policy makers. Spending time with an enthusiastic group of motivated people gives me great hope for our future.