Q&A EQIP Gladstone chief executive Angela Ormonde
ACROSS the Gladstone region, kids and businesses seem to have one thing in common: they are both seizing opportunities with EQIP.
EQIP is one of those organisations that is difficult to define, because it does so much, but it co-ordinates a range of work experience programs for high school students in some of the region's most exciting workplaces.
The Observer asked EQIP Gladstone chief executive Angela Ormonde some questions about this revolutionary, highly successful program.
Gladstone Region high school students in Years 10,11 and 12 are eligible to apply to participate in the EQIP programs.
EQIP Doorways to Civil Construction and PREQIP are open Year 10 programs only, the other programs accept applications from students in Years 11 and 12.
EQIP Gladstone is a world-class education/business initiative, which targets the identified skills shortage and enhances the transition from school to employment.
In 2010, 2011 & 2012, EQIP programs represented approximately 20% of year 11-12 State High School students in the Gladstone region.
This year we will have approximately 260 students participating in the suite of EQIP programs.
Students develop personal attributes that make them attractive to employers including: loyalty, commitment, honesty and integrity, reliability, enthusiasm, personal presentation, common sense, positive self-esteem, motivation, adaptability, ability to deal with pressure and a balanced attitude to work and home life.
They also develop their employability skills that can be categorised and underpin the curriculum in each of the 6 EQIP programs:
- Communication - that contributes to productive and harmonious relations across employees and customers
- Team work - that contributes to productive working relationships and outcomes
- Problem solving -that contributes to productive outcomes
- Initiative and enterprise - that contribute to innovative outcomes
- Planning and organising - that contributes to long and short term strategic planning
- Self-management - that contributes to employee satisfaction and growth
- Learning - that contributes to ongoing improvement and expansion in employee and company operations and outcomes
- Technology - that contributes to effective execution of tasks
It is expected that any student who commits to an EQIP program will participate in all aspects of their education and training to a high standard, including school, program and workplace.
Students participating in EQIP Doorways to Civil Construction, PREQIP and EQIP Process Plant Operations commit to one day per week for one year and an additional 2 weeks work experience.
EQIP Business and IT Skills Centre Students commit to one day per week for two years and any additional work experience they elect to complete.
EQIP Engineering Skills Centre students commit to 2 ½ days per week for the program involving 1 ½ days at the Centre and 1 day per week of work experience for two years.
EQIP Technical College Gladstone Region students enrol at the college (a campus of Gladstone SHS) and participate in a unique rotation of two weeks at school completing Year 11 & 12 curriculum and two weeks in the workplace completing work experience or School-based Traineeship or Apprenticeship.
The success of EQIP is linked to the continued relevance of the programs to employer needs and to increasing partnerships with business, industry and community groups.
EQIP's success is a direct result of the partnership between Education and local businesses and industries who not only support the program financially but also host work experience students and employ School-based Trainees and Apprentices.
Many of our partners and local business people are also actively involved in the individual program Advisory Committees and the EQIP Board. The EQIP Board members are:
- Bob McCosker (Chair), McCosker Contracting
- Sally Thompson, Gladstone State High School
- Maxine Brushe, Gladstone Regional Council
- Jeremy Hastings, Rio Tinto Alcan
- Glenn Schumacher, NRG Gladstone Power Station
- Will Schroeder, Yarralla Sport Club
- Rob Gibb, APLNG
Businesses involved with EQIP programs benefit in several key ways:
- Recruitment - cost and time savings with students transitioning directly into the workforce
- Training - cost and time savings as students are 'work ready' - experienced with industry standard equipment, procedures and expectations
- Loyalty - a high percentage of students will commit to employment with their training employer retaining skills in the Gladstone region
- Input - employers can contribute to the development of new and existing training programs to ensure students receive up-to-date skills and knowledge to meet employers' requirements
The students participating in EQIP programs are engaged in authentic workplace learning. They work on-site for part or all of their programs.
They work to industry hours, in the workplace, to industry standards including workplace relations and workplace health and safety.
The majority of our students have completed at least one site specific safety induction, hold their Whitecard and many also have completed their first aid certificate.
They learn what it means to work as a team and to complete 'real' jobs for local businesses through our Enterprise and Pledge Work projects.
They develop skills in workplace communication and, in my opinion, mature quite quickly.
It gives them the edge over other students who are studying and training in the 'traditional classroom, as they have the opportunity to speak to employers and business people during the program.
EQIP's host partners
- Boyne Smelters Limited
- McCosker Contracting
- NRG - Gladstone Power Station
EQIP's Financial Partners
- Rio Tinto Alcan Community Fund (Have partnered with the programs for over 10 years)
- Gladstone Regional Council
- Gladstone Ports Corporation
- Gladstone Job Skills
- Veolia Environmental Services
- A & K Auto Electrics
- Arrow Energy
- Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy
- Phoenix Group CQ
And our numerous supporters including:- Versestyle, GAPDL, GAGAL, GEA, Stonestreets Coaches, Gladstone Observer, Gladstone News Weekly, QAL and Busy at Work.
EQIP Gladstone was developed as a one-stop shop to provide strategic alignment and management for the 'off-site' specialized training programs that have been developed in partnership between Education Queensland schools and industry and running for the past 9 years.
EQIP provides co-ordinated delivery and common administration of these programs and liaison with service providers, government agencies and relevant authorities.
The programs (Gladstone Schools Engineering Skills Centre, Technical College Gladstone Region - formerly the Australian Technical College, Business and Information Technology Skills Centre and Doorways to Civil Construction) previously ran independently of each other, however in response to feedback from local business and industry, we in education needed to streamline some of our processes and therefore they have all been brought under the one umbrella.
In 2012 all of the programs were re-branded under the EQIP logo, e.g. EQIP Business and I.T. Skills Centre (EBITS), EQIP Engineering Skills Centre (EESC), EQIP Technical College Gladstone Region (ETCGR) and EQIP Doorways to Civil Construction (ED2CC).
2012 also saw the introduction of the EQIP Process Plant Operations program and PREQIP, a work preparation course for indigenous students.