Students get Gladstone's first souvenir shop up and running
GLADSTONE has opened its first souvenir shop - and it's been put together by a group of inspiring youngsters.
The shop at welfare charity Mission to Seafarers on the corner of Alf O'Rourke Drive and Bryan Jordan Drive has been revamped by students from Designer Life Training Gladstone, an RTO for long-term unemployed youth.
The job seekers aged 18 to 25, who come from a range of disadvantaged backgrounds, have given the shop a lift as part of their employability skills courses.
Designer Life Training trainer Wendy Hannan said the program was about giving students the confidence to change their lives.
"We're here doing work experience so it gives them insight into employer expectations, gets them hands on and gets them thinking," Ms Hannan said.
"We're in a retail environment at the moment where they're learning to stocktake, dress different areas and revamp the shop.
"It's basically about getting out of that negative environment."
The venture came about when Designer Life Training contacted Mission To Seafarers to offer help set up the shop.
Mission to Seafarers manager Jessica Mulhall said: "We're now opening to the public as a souvenir shop because there is no souvenir shop in Gladstone.
"So it's Australiana, Gladstone specific - these are local businesses who make, bake, grow or sew locally, and we're stocking their items for them.
"The money we make from that will come back into the charity to continue to support the seafarers."
Students involved in the project will also reap ongoing benefits, not only gaining important skills but building the right attitude to succeed in employment.
Those who continue to progress through the course will be placed in internships which often leading to work opportunities.
"Any business in town - it doesn't have to be retail - thinking about hiring someone, can take one of these students on on an internship," Jessica said.
"They'll get a decent time to trial them, see how reliable they'll be, what skills they can bring to the party, and then from there hopefully go into paid employment."
Students have already been placed through the program with businesses such as The Coffee Club, Rydges and Komatsu, with one student even given the opportunity to work in landscaping on Herron Island.
The store opened for the first time on Monday, May 7.