Education Queensland and Industry Partnership (EQIP) is a not-for-profit world class initiative that was formed to act as a central point of contact and to facilitate collaboration between Education Queensland, local schools, local community organisations, and business and industry. Our combined goal is to retain our next generation workforce in the local community to support the economic development of the Gladstone region. The purpose of the EQIP partnership is to widen the reach of alternative education opportunities available to students. EQIP’s role in fostering collaboration between all parties is highly valued as it provides the local community with students who are work-ready, who have entry to mid-level technical skills and valuable soft skills that ensure students can easily integrate into the workplace culture.
Prior to the establishment of this partnership, Education Queensland and a number of local industry bodies and businesses were involved in over 9 different industry-school partnerships that delivered work-ready students into the Gladstone workforce. Each industry-school partnership was administered separately and operated as a separate entity when approaching industry and business and attracting students into the schools programs. With industry support the Clever Recruiting Gladstone Study was initiated in 2008 by Education Queensland and local industry representatives. The outcome of the Study identified a range of opportunities to create efficiencies that would benefit all parties and a new and sustainable operational structure for the delivery of Vocational Education Training (VET) programs and services was implemented. This was based on consolidation of existing programs, and the cooperative development of new governance arrangements with a single industry and education driven management body to replace several existing boards and management committees.
The key outcomes were:
- An overarching centre be created to represent for all major providers and that this be managed by a central coordinator who oversees the new ‘one-stop-shop’.
- That the new model be led by industry representatives through a Board and that long term funding commitments and risk sharing be integral to the operations and sustainability of the various programs. Through active participation on the EQIP Board and individual program advisory committees, Gladstone business and industry have input into the foundation programs and influence the skillset the students gain.
EQIP’s Management Committee is made up of senior industry representatives and Principals from Gladstone SHS, Toolooa SHS, and Tannum Sands SHS. The EQIP Management Committee invest time and effort into EQIP’s governance and in contributing valuable insights and trends from industry and education.
Since 2009, EQIP has established a reputable and vital role as the link between industry, education and the community and EQIP has evolved over this time. In 2017, we continue to partner with the Gladstone community to create opportunities for year 10, 11 and 12 students to develop valuable employability skills, technical knowledge and experience to support a smoother transition from school to work or further study. Through collaboration we provide opportunities for students to:
- Gain work-ready skills and experience in one of seven vocational education authentic workplace learning programs.
- Participate in workshops to understand and develop behavioural employability skills that are important for success in the working world.
- Participate in work experience with local businesses to get first-hand knowledge of specific industries and vocations.
- Engage with industry and education partners at the careers expo to explore potential pathways following school and help them to make informed career choices.