Chris Bobermien said he lacked the qualifications to get the job he wanted. But that is changing.
Chris Bobermien said he lacked the qualifications to get the job he wanted. But that is changing. Michael Nolan

The skills you need to get a job in the Southern Downs

WHEN Chris Bobermien was hunting for a job he kept hitting the same wall.

He was keen to work and there were plenty of vacancies in his chosen profession but he didn't have the piece of paper that proved he could do what was required.

"I want to be a welder and fabricator,” Mr Bobermien said.

"It's difficult because the businesses want someone who is qualified.”

Like many a Queensland towns, Warwick has job vacancies but few skilled workers.

In a bid to full this deficit, the State Government announced it would cover course costs for 2018 school leavers who enrol in TAFE certificate within 12 months.

The free courses cover 160 high priority skills in agriculture and horticulture, automotive training, building and construction, beauty and hairdressing​, childcare, electro-technology and utilities​, hospitality and cookery​, resources and mining, and meat and food processing.

This model of government funded training is one Southern Downs Industry Education Association already uses.

The organisation surveys local business and industry to see what skills are needed before sourcing funding to provide that training for free.

SDIEA's program co-ordinator Grace Smith has so far placed about 145 people in work during 2018 and she said there were a few key industries crying out for skilled workers.

The big one is aged care, for which she lined up training and jobs for 45 people.

"We're putting a lot of staff though, partly because of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and also other organisations need people, like the Killarney Memorial Aged Care, Churches of Christ and Clifton Aged Care.

"There are high needs there.”

The retail and hospitality service sector is also short-staffed.

Mrs Smith placed 30 people in retail work, 15 in hospitality work, 15 in horticulture jobs and 15 people in engineering and automotive jobs.

If all goes to plan, Mr Bobermien will be another of those newly employed people.

The 16-year-old is studying a Certificate 2 in Engineering Pathways through SDIEA.

"I'm doing this course so I've got the piece of paper that says I can weld.”

The lack of young, skilled workers is something the Southern Downs Regional Council is trying to reverse.

Its research, through the economic development department, shows aged care and hospitality are almost sure bets for young people looking for a job.

"Retail and hospitality is always an issue for a us,” Mayor Tracy Dobie said

"People come to our region because we are getting a reputation as a good food and wine destination but they want good service in the restaurants, good service in the hotels and good service in the shops.”

"One of the things business owners relay is a recognition that their staff do need training to provide a good retail experience to encourage their customers to come back.”

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