An innovative training initiative is helping unemployed Central Queenslanders to get construction skills' while turning waste timber into furniture for social housing.
The partnership between Multicultural Australia and CQUniversity supports participants to get their Certificate I in Construction' while developing networks and practical problem-solving skills for future job opportunities.
The 13 trainees are attending weekly classes at CQU Rockhampton City' and putting their new expertise into action at the Rockhampton Regional Council's Upcycle Village' with timber supplied by Resource Recovery Australia.
Multicultural Australia project coordinator Justina O'Connor said the initiative began with CQUniversity's planning workshops to support the Upcycle Village in 2021.
"The workshops explored which waste streams that could be diverted from landfill' and generate community benefit – and all the right partners emerged to make a huge impact with this project'" Ms O'Connor said.
"As well as providing an opportunity for the participants to develop skills and employability' the waste pallets donated by Resource Recovery Australia are being transformed into furniture that meets a need for people seeking emergency housing in our region."
Ms O'Connor' who completed her Bachelor of Psychology with CQU in 2021' said the trainees were already creating impressive furniture' with 16 weeks of the program still to go. A second intake is planned for later this year.
CQU Construction head of course Stewart Larsson said the students are gaining understanding and knowledge of how to work safely in the construction industry.
"We cover topics such as measuring' planning' estimating and communication as well as using an array of tools and equipment in practice' all while ensuring all Workplace Health and Safety procedural requirements are understood are respected'" Mr Larsson said.
Practical units will also support participants to research compliance of their projects in regards to the National Construction Code and relevant Australian Standards' before manufacturing the designed plan to an acceptable 'trade' standard.
"That's something I am sure they will all be proud of creating' and by learning these relevant skills in a real world environment with our highly skilled trade teachers' the students will hopefully make the next potential step into the trades workforce a reality'" he said.
"It's a fantastic program that we are more than happy to be involved with."
The Upcycle Village project is part of Rockhampton Regional Council's Waste Strategy' to become a zero-waste community by 2050. Currently' 50'000 tonnes of waste a year goes into landfill across the Rockhampton region.
Since 2019' Multicultural Australia has also partnered with CQUniversity for the Tucker Time initiative' supporting unemployed Central Queenslanders to gain hospitality qualifications.
Participants also contribute to preparing food rescued from what would have been waste at local businesses' and then distributing to local charities.
Tucker Time recently featured in CQUniversity's Changemaker campaign' with video and digital content showcasing social innovation projects across regional Queensland.
Tucker Time and the Upcycle Village training initiative are funded by the Queensland Government's Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.