After 14 years of providing local students with authentic workplace experiences EQIP Gladstone Incorporated (EQIP) is closing its doors.
In 2022 the Queensland Department of Education cancelled its agreement with EQIP following a review.
This year EQIP board members and staff worked hard to create new ways to continue to support work experience and vocational education opportunities for Gladstone high school students. However, while the organisation had a key role in coordinating the annual Careers Expo and providing work experience support for some independent schools, these services are insufficient to sustain operations.
The management committee of EQIP Gladstone Inc has therefore made the difficult decision to cease operations on 7 January 2024.
In line with EQIP’s Constitution, EQIP will be donating its remaining cash and physical assets to Communities of Gladstone Supporting Youth Incorporated (COGSY), another local not-for-profit organisation with similar objectives.
EQIP President, James Robertson said, “In the absence of EQIP, COGSY is the best fit to continue on with the mission of creating opportunities for young people to develop employability skills, knowledge and experience”. COGSY provides young people aged 17-25 with industry focussed skill sets.
COGSY will also be coordinating the 2024 Gladstone Careers Expo in conjunction with the Rotary Club of South Gladstone.
“The COGSY team is thrilled to get a booster from EQIP”, said David Nunn, COGSY Co-Founder. “This will help us put at least 50 people through our COGSY program and help people who may not usually have a chance to find a pathway into industry.
We also look forward to working with the South Gladstone Rotary in running and the handover of an already successful careers day here in town. This is an opportunity that has come to us after we stepped up efforts from our last two years running courses in our community. We hope we can hold the flame for EQIP and do above and beyond expectations working to find industry pathways, working with our members and local suppliers to grow our local community and bridge the gap to help find people employment opportunities.”
EQIP Gladstone was incorporated in 2015 after operating as a committee since 2009. It has facilitated over 6500 local work experience placements and delivered a selection of authentic workplace learning programs to more than 1800 high school students. Over 80% of students graduating from EQIP’s programs secured local apprenticeships, traineeships or employment. EQIP Gladstone Inc won the prestigious Qld Premier’s Industry Collaboration Award at the Qld Training Awards in both 2017 and 2019, and were finalists at the Australian Training Awards.
“The Gladstone community including industry, business, schools and individuals has long history of caring and providing opportunities for young people. The EQIP board is grateful to all those that have supported the organisation over the years.
We would like to acknowledge the long-term support of our sponsors: ConocoPhillips APLNG, Shell’s QGC Business, Santos GLNG, Gladstone Regional Council, Gladstone Industry Leadership Group (GILG), Honeywell and WICET. Our program partners: Boyne Smelters, Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL), McCosker Contracting and CQUniversity, as well as our many committed work experience host organisations including Platinum Host, Gladstone Ports Corporation.” said Mr Robertson.
“I also want to express my gratitude to Gaetane Chiffoleau, EQIP’s Operations Manager, for her dedicated efforts throughout the past year. Additionally, I extend my thanks to former team members including Nicole Allison, Melanie Kent-Ford and Jessica Driessen, for their unwavering commitment and contributions to achieving EQIP’s objectives.
Finally I’d like to thank the current EQIP Board members, Chris Camerson (Vice President), Rob Gibb (Secretary), Charmaine Bennett (Treasurer), Chantale Lane, David Voss, Nicole Allison and Nicole Henry for their commitment.
We look forward to seeing more positive outcomes arise for young people in Gladstone as we hand over the baton to COGSY.”