Skilling Queenslanders for work: Week 1 Overview

Week 1 kicked off with a smashing start. All our Trainees arrived at 9am Monday morning looking eager and bright eyed, which was refreshing. Our morning started when Michael Walz, our CEO, introduced himself, the team, our trainees, the guest speakers, and the host employers to one another.

Our guest speakers, Peter Corones AM (Chairman of the Board), Kahn Goodluck our Deputy Mayor, Karen Dixon from DESBT, Jayson Kokles from Gidarjil, and Jodie Luce from MEGT really made an impression on our Trainees and that impression carried through from the first day to the end of the week.

During the week, we were honoured to welcome some more guest speakers in to chat to the trainees and share their stories. On Wednesday we welcomed David Nunn from High Risk Solutions, who spoke about his story and his journey from struggling to find a job, to owning his own successful scaffolding business. We had some great feedback from the trainees, who mentioned they were really inspired by his story. One even mentioned that their goal at the end of the Program was to be employed by David at High Risk Solutions!


We then heard from the Mayor of Gladstone, Matt Burnett, who not only spoke about his journey, but also about the up coming projects, the wind and solar farms coming to the region and Hydrogen industry that is coming to Gladstone. Many of our trainees were fascinated by the hydrogen industry and grilled Mayor Burnett on the timeline in which this industry would be in full swing. It really was a great opportunity for our trainees to get to speak to their Mayor but also gain more knowledge on the Gladstone Industry sector and what is in store for us in the near future.


On Thursday, the ever so energetic, Anton Guinea of Guinea Group joined us. He educated the trainees on self-worth, respect, and communication, while keeping the audience on their toes through his consistent engagement with them (which he did warn us about before commencing). It was very apparent that the larger majority of the group were much more out of their shells once Anton had been in, which was incredible to see.

After we got to hear from Anton, Glenn Butcher the Member for Gladstone in State Parliament and the Minister for Regional Development, Infrastructure and Manufacturing joined us to go through his life story and answer any questions the trainees may have had. We learned that he and his twin brother really relied on each other throughout their younger years, leaning on one another for support. We also heard about Glenn’s Fitting and Turning Apprenticeship that he completed and his history in the Gladstone and Banana regions.

The trainees also got to hear from our own, Maddy Ninness, who did a series of three presentations. The topics ranging from First Impressions, Goal Setting, Social Media use, to mental health and stress management as well as motivation and focus. The feedback we received from the trainees regarding these presentations was very positive and full of praise with a few minor things to improve on such as speaking speed.

Throughout the duration of the week, the trainees were put to the test in a series of practical Professional Development activities, focusing on building their skills in communication, team building, problem solving, quick thinking and working in a

team. Our first activity was having the Trainees concentrate on self-awareness through completing IQ tests, personality tests and intelligence tests. Many found this the results very interesting and were quite surprised about the accuracy of the


Our second activity was called the ‘Invisible Image’ and was based around improving trust, teamwork, taking directions and communication. Trainees were paired up and were required to describe a image to the other without saying what the image was. The other person was to attempt to draw the image based on their partners descriptions. To say the least, there was some very interesting art works by the end of the day!

On the next day, we kicked our morning off with Spaghetti and Blutack towers, Teams were to create the strongest tower from 1 pack of spaghetti and Blutack. Once completed, all towers were weight tested with multiple different weights and our winners were announced. Team Magister won the competition with their towers holding 3 kgs of weight!

That afternoon we moved into an activity named ‘Minefield’ where the group was split into two and the teammates had to direct one person from their team through a grid. However, the grid was riddled with hidden ‘bombs’ which if stepped on, would send that person to the back of the line and the next team’s representative would attempt to make it through. We saw the trainees work together and problem solve with ease while also bonding with one another.

Thursday was started with a very interesting activity that focused on working with different people, coming to unanimous decisions, cooperation, comprise and communication. The activity, ‘Plane Crash’ required the teams of trainees to all agree on 15 items they would take with them if all individually stranded on a sand island after their plane had crashed. We then asked them to all come to a complete decision on the order of which items were most and least important. One group struggled with the decision as to whether they would take a wok with them or a pot. After 30 minutes of heated discussion, the pot won, and it was finally time to continue with the activity!

To end our Thursday on a good note, we commenced ‘Salt and Pepper’, where the trainees were all given an opposite to someone else in the room (e.g. Lisa got salt, Tom got pepper). They were then tasked with finding their ‘opposite’ without giving away what they were, and then coming up with 3 similarities between the opposites. The trainees completed this task with ease, knowing exactly what questions to ask to efficiently discover their opposite and find their common ground.

At this point, we could see each and every day how much further the trainees were coming out of their shells and how much more comfortable they were with one another but also with their Mentors.

Completing their Responsible Service of Alcohol was what Friday morning had in for our trainees. Once they had completed their assessments, we moved onto doing ‘Jeopardy’ style Trivia based on the topics we had covered over the course of the week. Some of the higher scoring questions stumped some of the trainees, while others flew through. Watching the team dynamics while trying to score the highest in the Trivia competition was entertaining to say the least.

Over the course of the week, we had witnessed complete strangers become a large group of friends who were all aiming to up skill. We are so thankful to have been a part of that week and are beyond excited to do it all over again!