Twelve Innisfail area jobseekers today officially qualified to work in the aged care sector, but their skills are so highly prized that five of them have already been snapped up by employers.

The 12 women, aged between 21 and 63, have just completed a 12-month employment and training project that has equipped them with new skills and a Certificate III in Aged Care.

Minister for Disability Services, Mental Health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt attended the ceremony on behalf of Minister for Employment, Skills and Mining Stirling Hinchliffe.

Mr Pitt said Quality Innovation Training and Employment (QITE) had received a $52,610 Productivity Places Program grant to help a total of 16 jobseekers improve their prospects through the aged care training project.

“Productivity Places Program funding is a joint initiative between the Australian, State and Territory governments designed to help people complete a full qualification up to Diploma level in identified skills shortage areas,” he said.

“The Certificate III qualification is the required entrance level for aged care employment.

“The qualification is in such high demand that five of the group graduating today have already found employment in local aged care facilities.”

“The success of these students will also mean benefits for programs like Home and Community Care (HACC), which is vital in enabling people with a disability or older, frail people to continue living in their own homes.

“The HACC program provides a broad range of basic support and maintenance services each year to more than 170,000 people so ensuring there are enough qualified staff to do the job is important.”

QITE Chief Executive Officer Katrina Spies said although the project was vocation oriented it also helped participants improve their motivation, self-confidence and job search skills.

“This has helped two of the graduating group to find employment in jobs outside the aged care sector,” Ms Spies said.

“Some of the participants are now also considering undertaking higher level training.”

Ms Spies said QITE would continue to support the job seekers in coming months to help them move into further training or employment.