CQUniversity and Skilling Queenslanders for Work seed new skills in Dreamtime Cultural Centre trainees

26 May 2021

Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management trainees Demekea Leo-Purcell' Poutawera Tane and Kraig Hixon are just some of the Dreamtime Cultural Centre staff growing in skills and knowledge in the field of horticulture.

CQUniversity is delivering the training for 12 trainees thanks to funding from the Queensland Government's Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative to boost the Dreamtime Cultural Centre's workforce.

The trainees are all Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people' and include school leavers' unemployed or underemployed and four of the group are women).

Now six weeks into the training' Poutawera said he was quite enjoying the course and the challenges of training.

"I came into the course quite uncertain' but now I've learned quite a few things' I'm finding it very interesting.

"I like the practical side of the course and it feels good to be working through various tasks and also the physical side of it.

"I like the routine of work and the (staff) are great."

Demekea said she'd enjoyed learning about plants and had considered going further in horticulture.

"I am keeping an open mind. I am getting lots of experience and while (horticulture) is definitely something I'm interested in' I'm also interested in other experiences as well'"

she said.

Kraig said he also liked the outdoor aspects of the training.

"I've done weeding some terracing' putting in saplings and propagation'"

he said.

"It's really challenging' but I am enjoying it."

Central Queensland Aboriginal Corporation for Cultural Activities (CQACCA) Project Co-ordinator Desley Cowley said the participants would undertake an 18-week full-time traineeship while studying a Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management with CQUniversity Horticulture Teacher Kay Pearson.

"Trainees will have the opportunity to develop work skills in horticulture and land management as well as transferable soft-skills needed by employers'"

"They will work on major projects on the grounds of Dreamtime Cultural Centre including establishing a retail nursery that will grow and sell native plants to visitors and the general public.

"We also want to re-establish and enhance the Native Plant Tour and Bush Tucker talks to include presentations' information and advice on native plants of significance to Indigenous communities. This will increase the awareness of the usage – past and present – of native plants in medicine and wellbeing and food (bush tucker)' and of the importance of plants in Indigenous heritage and culture.

"Rockhampton Regional Council' who are lessors of the land where the Dreamtime Cultural Centre is located' are involved in the creek regeneration part of the project."

Skilling Queenslanders for Work focuses on developing an individual's skills supporting them to begin a learning pathway to a certificate III qualification and provide direct assistance to those Queenslanders that need extra support to enter and stay in the workforce.

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