Chanphen Williams completed the Gladstone Multicultural Association’s Certificate III in hospitality course. Supported by her masters in business administration she opened the Royal Thai Restaurant in Sun Valley in December 2012.
Chanphen Williams completed the Gladstone Multicultural Association’s Certificate III in hospitality course. Supported by her masters in business administration she opened the Royal Thai Restaurant in Sun Valley in December 2012. Christopher Chan

Program helps spouses of skilled workers find a job

A GLADSTONE community program to help migrants into work has seen exceptional results, with 91.5% of participants in employment six months after the program.

Gladstone Multicultural Association received $300,000 funding in 2011 from the previous state government's Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.

President Craig Butler said the aim was to get the spouses of skilled workers who had moved to Gladstone into the workplace.

"There's that adage, happy wife, happy life," he said.

"If the partner at home is happy the person in the full-time job won't get pressure on them from an unhappy home life.

"The benefit to business is that person will stay in that job an extra two to five years and small businesses avoid all the costs of recruitment."

Eighty people participated in the program, which saw participants graduate with a Certificate III in Hospitality or a Certificate in Security Operations.

CQUniversity took an interest in the course, and lecturer and researcher Dr Ros Cameron crunched the numbers

"If you look at how many were long-term unemployed, that's12 months plus. There were roughly 29% and 70% less than 12 months," she said.

"That's important because the longer you're out of work, the harder it is to break the disadvantages that come with that.

"This is astounding for a labour market program. Those who are working in some form or other six months after (the completion of the program) are (more than) 90%."

The benefit to business is that person will stay in that job an extra two to five years and small businesses avoid all the costs of recruitment

Dr Cameron said most participants had come from educated backgrounds, with many holding a senior qualifications or a higher level of education.

"Educated people from different backgrounds can face a lot of employment barriers," she said.

"There's assumptions and discrimination where employers think they don't have any local experience.

"If you look at regional areas like Gladstone, it's a battle to keep workers in the region to sustain them.

"So it just makes economic sense that you don't let a lot of skilled people sit at home."

The course helped to answer a need in the Gladstone community for hospitality workers.

McDonald's Gladstone was a main supporter of the course and employed some participants.

"It would be great if we could get more funding," Mr Butler said.

Masters degree in business didn't help Chanphen in Gladstone

A MASTERS degree wasn't enough to get Thai national Chanphen Williams into work in Gladstone.

Last year the Gladstone resident enrolled in the Gladstone Multicultural Association's Certificate III in Hospitality, after she moved here for her husband's work.

"I got a masters degree in business administration from the Southern Cross University in New South Wales," Mrs Williams said.

"It was pretty hard for me to get a job."

Mrs Williams came to Australia in 1997 and moved to Gladstone from Brisbane at the end of 2011, with her husband working at the power station.

In December Mrs Williams opened her business, the Royal Thai in the Sun Valley Shopping Centre.

The restaurant is not a direct result of the certification, although Mrs Williams said it did give her to meet others in the Gladstone area.

"I go to the course, because I have a background in food," she said.

Mrs Williams said she now wanted to give back to the community by accepting a student to be an apprentice.


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