Night school taps into indigenous zeal for trades training
QGC’s Indigenous Relations Team has welcomed an overwhelming response to a school-based project to help Dalby’s indigenous youths gain trade qualifications in welding and metalwork. “Wewere expecting about 10 or 11 people to enrol, but the program is set to support up to 25,” said Indigenous Relations Employment, Training and Business Development Coordinator Bradley Maher. The scheme kicks off at the Trades Training Centre at Dalby State High School this month. It offers an opportunity for local indigenous people to participate in QGC-funded training for two nights a week for 12 months, to complete a Certificate 1 in Engineering. The pilot scheme is part of a wider regional incentive program aimed at keeping students at school while they work toward trade qualifications or entry to higher education. “Funding the night classes at the Trades Training Centre in Dalby is a sample of something small within a bigger plan,” Bradley said. “It’s about being strategic in which programs we fund in which communities. We’re working with the state and federal governments, Energy Skills Queensland, Construction Skills Queensland and other CSG proponents.” Dalby State High School Deputy Principal Jason Marini said the program, which has received positive coverage in the Dalby Herald, would skill up young people for employment in their hometown and region. “The purpose is to address the skills shortages in town and improve indigenous employment opportunities,” he told the Herald. “We’re also organising mentoring businesses for industry placement. The program is run by the Dalby State High School and Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE, and funded by QGC. QGC is committed to increasing employment and training opportunities for indigenous communities in its project area. The Dalby scheme is part of the QGC Indigenous Employment, Training and BusinessDevelopment strategy which targets communities throughout the region. QGC is using state-of-the-art environmental science to keep a closer watch on sea grass health in Port Curtis. Seagrass beds growin shallow coastal waters and provide food and shelter for marine life. They photosynthesise using sunlight, filtered through the water. Until recently, QGC has monitored seagrass beds in Port Curtis by measuring turbidity, or the muddiness of the water, in line with the QCLNG Project’s Dredge Management Plan for the Narrows, between the mainland and Curtis Island. But extensive research, laboratory and field studies supervised by specialists from Fisheries Queensland have found that measuring sunlight is a more direct and scientifically valid way to protect seagrass meadows. The Narrows’ dredging project became a world leader with the implementation of the light monitoring program in late August. The transition to a lightbased approach is the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration of leading scientists, initiated by QGC in 2009. It allows for real time measurements of available light at key seagrass meadow locations, which are checked daily against agreed thresholds. This new system allows the Gladstone Ports Corporation, QGC and the Queensland Government to flag potential impacts of the dredging program on seagrasses. With this information, we can manage our activities to protect these important meadows. The dredging, which is equivalent to about 1% of the broader Gladstone Harbour dredging program being conducted by Gladstone Ports Corp- oration, will allow the QCLNG pipeline to be placed under the sea floor.
SCIENCE HELPS IMPROVE
Dalby State High School worker Oliver Duncan prepares the school’s Trades Training Centre for the QGCfunded indigenous training program