14 December 2010
Rural careers boosted by work experience program
University students are finding new career opportunities in rural and regional Australia thanks to a work experience program touring Queensland.
With the support of a $6500 grant from the Queensland Government, the Brolga Project has so far visited the Burnett and Wide Bay region to develop business support for work placements.
Brolga Project Manager Richard Cowley said in the past six weeks he had already secured 20 potential student placements, nearly the same as what was achieved in the previous two years.
“The placements offer benefits both to the student and business by opening up opportunities for skilled employment in the regions,” Mr Cowley said.
“Many urban-based university students have never had the opportunity to visit or live in rural and regional Australia.
“Through the Brolga Project we are offering them the opportunity to expand their career opportunities while fulfilling their course requirements for hands-on experience.
“Students are definitely keen to get out there – we currently have 1000 students from 40 different disciplines on our books who we are hoping to match up with businesses.
“Their study fields range from accounting, IT and marketing to engineering, agricultural science and teaching, so we can meet most businesses’ needs.
“From the students we’ve placed so far, two are now in full time roles and we expect another two to go full time soon.
“The more businesses we can sign up, the sooner we can attract skilled labour back to our regions.”
Rural Skilling Acting Director Geoff Johnston from the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation said the project was an important step in addressing current skill shortages.
“Rural and regional Australia is suffering a shortage of skilled workers, which is part of the phenomenon of rural drift,” Mr Johnston said.
“Our goal is to encourage more students towards a regional career when they graduate by opening up new career pathways they may not have considered.
“The diversity of careers available outside of metropolitan areas is immense, and offer new lifestyle opportunities too.
“The Queensland Government is promoting these opportunities through a combination of work experience and school traineeship programs, and development of agriculture in curriculum in primary and secondary schools.
“I encourage businesses to sign up to the Brolga Project to help build a skilled pool of workers for their region’s future development.”
For more information on the Brolga Project, visit www.brolgaproject.com.au or contact Richard on 3366 1005.
Media: Sacha Kitson, 3225 1386
Photo caption: Queensland Rural Women’s Network (QRWN) Board Member Valerie Sapin with Queensland University of Technology IT student Rex Mpala, who’s been placed with the QRWN in Kingaroy.
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