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Surprising Stories

Opening Doors to Opportunity

Barbara Gray, 72, wasn’t going to let her age or moving to a new country stop her from starting a new career. She knew her previous experience nursing in Malawi, Africa was a solid foundation to get her started in the Aged Care sector, but she didn’t have the confidence or know where to start. While looking to participate in a first aid course Barbara came to IMPACT and met Sandy Baker, IMPACT’s Aged Care trainer.  Having moved to Bundaberg only a short time ago, she was considering training online but knew hands-on experience was what was needed most and now she has her Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) and has recently commenced employment at CentreCare.

Prior to commencing her Certificate III in Aged Care, Barbara completed a Certificate II in Retail but found it difficult to find work.  She lacked experience and was unfamiliar with retail technology.  She thought her age was a discriminating factor as many of the jobs in this field were filled by younger applicants. After a few months of volunteer work in the hospitality sector at Meals on Wheels, Barbara realised she needed a different qualification to have a financially secure and meaningful occupation. Aged Care became appealing.

“It has been a long time since I went to school so starting a course was pretty daunting,” Barbara said. “Learning the legislation and rules was hard, but Sandy is so thorough and focussed, she stepped us through one step at a time. Sandy really is an inspiration, she’s attuned to all the different personalities in the classroom and got us through the course no matter what our barriers were. I have restored confidence now, I’ve met some great friends, I’m so pleased I took part in this course.”

Barbara commented “Job prospects in Aged Care seemed realistic and this was a strong motivator for me to complete my training.  Being given the opportunity to access this funded course from the Queensland government through Skilling Queenslanders for Work, I was not going to let this opportunity go”.

Another student in the same class, Catherine Francis, had similar sentiments. “After 22 years as a nanny in Sydney it was time for a change, so I moved to Bundaberg where I have family. A career in Aged Care seemed like a natural progression from looking after kids, but I had so much to learn. At the age of 49 returning to school was nerve-racking and I was totally out of my comfort zone, but the classroom environment and everyone at IMPACT was so supportive, Sandy is a great teacher and she has a lot to offer. Completing this course was so rewarding, I now have the confidence to go out and find work.

Bundaberg job seekers skilled for new careers

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Today IMPACT had the pleasure of hosting The Hon Curtis Pitt (Treasurer of Queensland, Minister for Trade & Investment), The Hon Yvette D’Ath (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice, Minster for Training and Skills), and local member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson at a joint graduation to celebrate students completing Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) and Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management traineeships.

26 students are now equipped with new skills, confidence, networks and a real chance at finding work and after graduating from IMPACT Community Services today they will all step out ready to take on the world in industries such as aged care and conservation.

10 of the participants completed Work Skills Traineeships that combined 22 weeks paid work on sites around Bundaberg while completing a Certificate 1 in Conservation and Land Management. This program has assisted 20 people so far, with 9 having already secured employment. IMPACT Community Services’ Chief Executive, Tanya O’Shea, said the group worked with a supervisor on a variety of tasks that included removing weeds and dead trees, planting native species and fencing. “This group showed great teamwork on each task set for them and we organised with Bundaberg Regional Council for some extra sites for them to work on,” Ms O’Shea said. “They’ve worked at Moore Park, Elliott Heads, Mon Repos, Baldwin Swamp, The Hummock and the list goes on. They’ve gained plenty of skills for the conservation industry, including using different equipment, and they also developed the general workplace skills that will help them impress any employer.”

Another 16 students graduated with a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) of which six now have jobs. This training was delivered over 18 weeks and involved 120 hours of vocational placement ensuring they are well prepared for the workforce.

An integral component of IMPACT’s successful approach to training is the vocational placement, which provides real-life experience and supports students learning. “We could not deliver our courses without the generosity and support of the local organisations or businesses we work closely with,” Ms Quaile, Training Manager, said. “The students get practice in a realistic working environment and gain valuable insight into customer and employer expectations.”

The current training being delivered at IMPACT is made possible under the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative. “Skilling Queenslanders for Work ensures people are trained and have the opportunity to develop skills needed to find long-term secure employment,” Ms Donaldson said.

To find out more about how IMPACT can help you with your next career move, give us a call on 41534233 or drop in and see us at 108 Bargara Road.

Life-change Learning Equates to Big Graduation

Forty-three students are now equipped with new skills, confidence, networks and a real chance at finding work. On Thursday December 15, all students will graduate with their Certificate III level qualification in their chosen field. Many of the 43 people who participated in training were looking for work or unsure what career path they should pursue. However, after graduating from IMPACT Community Services they will all step out ready to take on the world in industries such as hospitality, aged care, disability services and business administration.

Jett Harrell, 17, knew he wanted to explore his training opportunities but didn’t realise IMPACT was going to change his life. “Everyone at IMPACT was welcoming and made all of us feel comfortable. They helped in so many more ways than just the training, it was very supportive. I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. I would recommend IMPACT to anyone,” Jett said.

Jeff Messitt, hospitality trainer, said all the students worked hard to achieve their graduation goals. “The students have put in a great effort,” he said. “They have discovered life-change learning and I am very pleased to see them develop so well.”

IMPACT’s Training Services Manager, Bronwyn Quaile, said she is delighted to see the wonderful progress that each student has made. “It is so exciting to see people’s transformation from being uncertain to embracing the study and becoming more self-assured as they learn and develop. I wish them all the best and trust that all students will enjoy rewarding careers.”

An integral component of IMPACT’s successful approach to training is the vocational placement, which provides real-life experience and supports students learning. “We could not deliver our courses without the generosity and support of the local organisations or businesses we work closely with,” Ms Quaile said. “The students get practice in a realistic working environment and gain valuable insight into customer and employer expectations.” 

The current training being delivered at IMPACT is made possible under the Queensland Government’s Certificate 3 Guarantee. This subsidised training specifically targets Certificate III qualifications because they are considered the entry-level most often needed to gain employment in many industry sectors. 

Employments prospects are looking optimistic in light of the upcoming graduation with six hospitality graduates already gaining positions in local establishments.

Big Numbers at Double Graduation 

36 students recently graduated with skills, experience and nationally accredited qualifications that will set them up for life. 19 students will receive their Home and Community Certificate III and a further 17 students will be presented with their Certificate III in Disability Services. Some graduates are stepping straight into employment on the success of their studies and the support they received at IMPACT.

Stephen Perchard knows he is on the right path having completed his qualification for Disability Services. “Everyone at IMPACT, especially our trainer Coral and the students in my class have been so helpful,” Stephen said. “I really enjoyed the practical experience and on the back of obtaining my qualification I have been offered a job at Blue Care Respite. Gaining my Certificate III is the best thing I could do, I’m on the right path now and I’m really looking forward to my future.”

IMPACT trainer for Disability, Coral Deller, says the approach to training and individual support is what makes our students successful. “Face to face training and supporting each person on their journey builds not only their skills in training but also in life. They learn teamwork, make friendships, and build sector networks that gives them confidence. We also help with their applications, selection criteria and resumes which can be pretty daunting for some, every little bit helps. The feedback from community service providers suggests our students have all the relevant skills and training to succeed.”   

Home and Community trainer Mary Anne Brown says her holistic approach to teaching gives students more than just a certificate. “It’s not all about the paperwork at IMPACT, we work with each student to build their confidence and skills so they will succeed wherever they choose to work,” she said.

Strong relationships with local community service providers enables IMPACT students to gain valuable experiences. “Our relationships are built on mutual respect and trust,” Mary Anne said. “They know our students receive quality training and so they’re happy to offer them work experience, then this often results in offers of employment.”

Andrew Davies completed his Home and Community qualification and is now looking towards his future with his newfound skills. “As soon as I met Mary Anne I knew I was in the right place and that I’d enjoy this course. I have learnt so much, met great people, and can honestly recommend IMPACT to anyone. During the course we have to do vocational placement, I did mine at Ozcare. That practical experience taught me so much, so many life lessons, and I truly feel the experience will help me get a job. I had previously worked in retail, but now I realise community services is where I want to be. I feel confident I have made the right choice and after training with Mary Anne I have the experience I need to make a difference in people’s lives.”

June 2016

A life changer

Lorraine completed her Certificate III in Aged Care at IMPACT and her future has never looked brighter. Here's what she had to say about the help she received from us.

"I would just like to say a very big THANK YOU to IMPACT for all their services, quality teachings and for the help they offer you. I had not worked for many years but decided to start a course in Aged Care. I could not have had a better experience or opportunity than what I got at IMPACT. I was very fortunate to be offered a job straight after completing my vocational placement. I am delighted to say I love my job, and so surprised with myself for being able to finish the course and get work. So for anyone out there who is worried about doing a course, then don't be. IMPACT will give you all the necessary information and help you need to re-join the workforce. So, once again, I offer a very big thank you to IMPACT. I couldn't have done it without you. Regards, Lorraine."

Is this the type of change you'd like in your life? Talk to us about our services and training opportunities www.impact.org.au or call us 4153 4233

Finding your place again

Training opportunities at IMPACT are developed with you in mind. We want you to develop your skills, build your confidence and develop a pathway to finding employment. We also understand our local labour market and give special consideration to employer feedback and industry liaison when establishing our training courses. Matt Wilson confirms that training at IMPACT was well worth his while. “I loved it. I can't speak highly enough of Jeff, the trainer we had. He gave us so much encouragement and confidence,” Matt said.

Matt and his family found themselves in a dire financial situation and Matt soon became depressed, angry and frustrated. Then he heard about the Camp Operations Access course, so he signed up and hasn't looked back. “Everything is falling back into place for us now,” Matt said. “My time at IMPACT helped me refocus, gain confidence, look for work; it made me feel like I could do something again.” Matt has since gone on to do his training and assessors course. He now volunteers with Landcare and feels like he has a place back in the community.