SECOND CHANCE: Abbi Nicholas returned to Bundamba TAFE to complete a Certificate in Kitchen Operations after dropping out of school.
SECOND CHANCE: Abbi Nicholas returned to Bundamba TAFE to complete a Certificate in Kitchen Operations after dropping out of school. Cordell Richardson

Job seekers on road to brighter future with expansion

DROPPING out of Year 12 could have spelled disaster for teenager Abbi Nicholas and her career plans.

Fortunately, when her education prospects were at sea, she was thrown a lifeline that has allowed her to complete her hospitality studies and make plans to return to school this year.

Ms Nicholas is just one of more than 40 Ipswich and Lowood young people to benefit from an Ipswich Community Youth Service Program that has been running at TAFE Queensland's Bundamba facility for the past four years.

Training and Skills Development Minister Shannon Fentiman was in the TAFE kitchen yesterday morning to announce a further $146,500 in funding for the Increasing Options project, which takes Ipswich job seekers and gives them the skills to carve out a career.

Ms Nicholas said she would have been lost without the opportunity to do the course.

Kit Lerch, Henry OBrien, ICYS service manager Amanda Margerison, Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard, Minister for Training Skills Development Shannon Fentiman, Abbi Nicholas, Matalena Setefano, TAFE Cooking Teachers  Fenton Keogh and Sarah Bollard.
Kit Lerch, Henry OBrien, ICYS service manager Amanda Margerison, Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard, Minister for Training Skills Development Shannon Fentiman, Abbi Nicholas, Matalena Setefano, TAFE Cooking Teachers Fenton Keogh and Sarah Bollard. Cordell Richardson

"I was doing my Certificate 3 at school but I had to leave school,” she said.

"If this course didn't exist I would have had nowhere to go. But coming here made me want to keep learning.

"We have run through a lot of the theory, the food safety and the responsible service of alcohol.

"This has helped me finish the course and get the points I require and I will go back and repeat Year 12 this year.”

Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard said she believed the course had directly resulted in the youth unemployment rate dropping.

Out of a total of $34.7 million in Skilling Queenslanders for Work Funding allocated by the State Government, the Ipswich region and its various training programs will receive about $2.25 million.

"In this round more than $2.2 million will fund 11 projects in Ipswich and since being reinstated, Skilling Queenslanders for Work has supported more than 1600 people into work in Ipswich,” Ms Howard said.

"In partnership with TAFE Queensland, participants have access to world class hospitality training facilities as they complete a Certificate II in Kitchen Operations here at the Ipswich Campus.

"ICYS does fantastic work with our local young Queenslanders in Ipswich, supporting them towards bright futures.”

ICYS service manager Amanda Margerison said the latest funding would allow the expansion of the program to 41 students in 2019.

"This program really does demonstrate why the State Government invests in supporting young people and moving them in the right direction,” she said.

Ms Fentiman said Skilling Queenslanders for Work projects had helped 20,000 people find work since 2015.