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Jo Cuthbertson is one of the 28 trainees who scored an 18 week job with GEA. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
Jo Cuthbertson is one of the 28 trainees who scored an 18 week job with GEA. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards GLA180416TRAN

GEA trainee program creates 28 new jobs for unemployed

PEOPLE looking for work in Gladstone have been dealt a helping hand after a leading industry group created 28 new traineeships in the business and land conservation sectors.

More than 150 people applied for a placement in the new Gladstone Engineering Alliance program, which was funded by the state government.

The group is hopeful the scheme won't be a one-off but that will depend on getting further government funding in the next round in November.

Jo Cuthbertson had been looking for work for 15 months when she found out she was one of the 28 successful trainees.

It was a health condition that restricted her from working in her industry, but many of the other trainees were given the opportunity after their previous employer made their jobs redundant.

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GEA ceo Carli Homann said recent studies into employment data found a trend in mature-aged, highly skilled people struggling to find work.

Mrs Homann said the 28 trainees varied in age and backgrounds, however there were many who had been let go from larger industry companies in Gladstone.

"We have highly skilled people in the area who have been made redundant," Mrs Homann said. "We wanted to provide a way to up-skill people and, for some of them, to help them find a new career and new opportunities."

Gladstone mum Ms Cuthbertson was a process technician at Boyne Smelter Ltd for four years.

Jo Cuthbertson is one of the 28 trainees who scored an 18 week job with GEA. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
Jo Cuthbertson is one of the 28 trainees who scored an 18 week job with GEA. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards GLA180416TRAN

A diagnosis of hematite arthritis and asthma meant she couldn't continue working with heavy machinery like cranes.

"I felt like hugging them when they told me I got the job," Ms Cuthbertson said.

"I was applying for everything and anything, even manual labour jobs, just so I could get back into the workforce. I started working at age 14 and I've never not had a job, so it was tough."

Other mums Leanne Adams and Katalin Istvan, applied for the traineeships after they were made redundant.

Ms Istvan worked at engineering company Forgacs up until last month when she was let go.

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"It was really scary because I arrived in Australia from Hungary (four years ago) with my family, thinking we would be working here to create a new life and it would be a lot easier and safer," Mrs Istvan said. "But it was so hard to find work after I was laid off," she said.

Former Remax Gold employee Leanne Adams was made redundant after her position was no longer needed due to the easing rental market. Her job was created to show off rental properties, but as the number of properties and interest in renting dwindled, so did her role.

"The majority of places I applied for didn't even send me a response. It's a really tough market out there.

"So to actually have the first interview and return for a second was great.

"They say one door closes and another one opens. I think this is definitely the case."

The program was funded by the state government's Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative for $480,000.



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