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Community & Business

11 July, 2024

Pilot trail care program for young job seekers

A NEW youth traineeship program that will be offered to disadvantaged Mareeba-Tablelands job seekers will help keep the Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park in good shape.


The Atherton Mountain Bike Park will be the biggest winner from a new program for young job seekers. Image: FLOW Mountain Bike & TTNQ.
The Atherton Mountain Bike Park will be the biggest winner from a new program for young job seekers. Image: FLOW Mountain Bike & TTNQ.

Spearheaded by Vocational Partnerships Group (VPG) in collaboration with Tablelands Regional Council and Tablelands Cycle Sports, the Tablelands Trail Builders program will provide paid traineeships to locally-based disadvantaged job seekers aged 17-24.

The mountain bike park, a much-loved recreational area, stands to benefit significantly, with two groups of four young people working full-time for two 22-week periods on the track.

As part of the new program, participants will receive training in trail care and maintenance, along with an accredited course leading to a Certificate in Conservation and Ecosystem Management.

The training will emphasise practical skills for landscaping, weed management, pest control, and community revegetation efforts such as tree planting and native plant propagation.

To ensure long-term success after the project, participants will engage in weekly career and employability skills training, preparing them for sustainable employment opportunities in the future.

VPG chief executive officer Maryanne Tranter highlighted the broad-reaching impact of the initiative.

“The traineeship program offers a unique opportunity for hands-on learning and earning that directly benefits our community and environment through on-the-ground projects,” she said.

“It's designed to empower local youth with the skills, qualifications, and support they need to thrive in their traineeship and in future employment.”

Ms Tranter also emphasised the importance of community support.

“As with all our skilling programs at VPG, we achieve the greatest impact by adopting a whole-of-community approach,” she said.

“By leveraging our strong partnerships with local businesses and industry, our trainees will have access to diverse opportunities and experiences beyond track care.

“This exposure will broaden their skills, connect them with local industries and employment opportunities, build their social capital, and prepare them for their future endeavours,” she said.

Tableland Cycle Sports founding president and secretary David Prete is excited about the Trail Builders program and what it can do for the park.

"Maintaining the trails has long been a challenge for our small club, heavily reliant on volunteers,” he said.

“This program will alleviate volunteer burnout and inject fresh perspectives into our trail maintenance efforts.

“It also represents a significant advancement for the park and sets a precedent for similar initiatives.

“By involving local youth, the park will address immediate maintenance needs while nurturing a new generation of skilled workers dedicated to its long-term upkeep.”

A dedicated local Project Supervisor staffed by VPG will lead the trainees, providing guidance and oversight to ensure high-quality maintenance of the trails and foster a supportive environment with mentorship for young participants.

VPG has had extensive experience as a Skilling Queenslanders for Work provider, successfully completed over 33 contracts under the state initiative over the past 15 years.

“We will apply our proven track record and expertise to this new project, continuing to transform the lives of young people in our local area,” Ms Tranter affirmed.

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