CELEBRATION: Graduates Darren Hodges, Toby Flinn (Sea Ranger) Shayde Fisher, Brandon Gilchrist and Luke Bond, earned themselves a barbecue.
CELEBRATION: Graduates Darren Hodges, Toby Flinn (Sea Ranger) Shayde Fisher, Brandon Gilchrist and Luke Bond, earned themselves a barbecue. Julia Bartrim

Jobs the driver for environmental training

NINETEEN-year-old Darren Hodges has always known he'd rather work outside than be stuck "behind a desk with a pile of paperwork".

So he welcomed the chance to complete a six- month land conservation and management traineeship through Gidarjil Development Corporation.

Mr Hodges attended a graduation ceremony yesterday along with five of his fellow course participants at Gidarjil's Gladstone site.

He said he's looking into the next step on the path to becoming a sea ranger.

"I enjoyed it, I'm going to miss it," he said of the course.

Gordon King, education and training manager at Gidarjil, said the traineeship was an entry level program that gave participants the opportunity to progress into tertiary education.

He said the training in land conservation can only be a growth industry.

"It has to be, what with all the (environmental) issues we have at the moment," he said.

Gidarjil, headed by Kerry Blackman, runs a range of programs designed to benefit indigenous Australians in the areas of training and employment, cultural heritage and indigenous language.

"Every time the government enacts funding to help the environment or Great Barrier Reef, generally that translates to jobs," Mr King said.

"Indigenous Australians have been managing this land for thousands of years.

"We identified (training in land conservation) as a priority employment area and there are an increasing number of Indigenous people gaining employment in that field."

Gidarjil's funding to provide trainee ships came from Skilling Queenslanders for Work.



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