Taking on trainees

Article image - Taking on trainees Horticulture trainee Rebecca Barrett (left) and trainer Elizabeth Smith, director of Horticulture Training Pty Ltd, at the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens.

Mackay Regional Council will soon welcome a new intake of trainees and apprentices.

Council is the major employer of apprentices and trainees in Mackay, offering 25 positions each year.

Traineeships are offered in business, information technology; library and information services; live production, theatre and events; warehousing operations; workplace health and safety; conservation and land management; civil construction; and horticulture.

Council recently advertised for a third-year electrical apprentice and will advertise two more apprenticeships later this year.

Successful applicant in last year’s intake, Rebecca Barrett, is now gaining valuable on-the-job training and study as a horticulture trainee.

Mrs Barret said she was studying horticulture online through TAFE when a friend told her about traineeships available at council.
“I’ve grown up with a farming background, so I’ve always had a passion for horticulture.

“My friend was aware I was studying horticulture and I was interested in entering the industry when my children were at a suitable age.

“They’re both at school now and this is the perfect stepping stone for me. I will come out with my Certificate III in Horticulture at the end of it.”

Mrs Barrett is based at council’s Queens Park nursery.
“We have the orchid house there as well, so my role involves talking with the public and answering any questions they may have,’’ she said.

As part of her traineeship, she also studies with the assistance of Elizabeth Smith, director of Horticulture Training Pty Ltd.

“Once a month we get two days to come over to the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens to study to help us through our modules.

“I love the support provided at council – I love the opportunity to better myself.”

Mayor Deirdre Comerford said it was pleasing to see trainees like Rebecca making the most of opportunities provided by council.
Despite an adjustment in the economy, Council had remained committed to again offering traineeships and apprenticeships this year, Councillor Comerford said.

“That is the biggest intake of any organisation in the region; Council is the major employer of apprentices and trainees in Mackay.

“With the third-year apprentice we’re currently interviewing shortlisted candidates for, we are seeking someone on the out-of-trade register or who has had their apprenticeship cancelled.

“We want to give someone the opportunity to complete their apprenticeship.”

Of the total 25 positions on offer, 22 are traineeships and three are apprenticeships.