A partnership between Toowoomba’s Grand Central shopping centre and TAFE Queensland South West will provide 550 hospitality and retail training places for locals.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the initiative meshed the Palaszcuk Govenrment’s commitments to job creation, training, and regional economic development.

Mr Pitt said the partnership would help provide trained workers for the estimated 1,000 new jobs to be created by the $500 million redevelopment of the shopping centre.

“This new scheme is going to help eligible local residents kick-start their careers in their home town,” Mr Pitt said.

Grand Central is owned by the State Government’s investment arm, Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC). 

“It’s a great example of a commercial organisation working together with a government-funded training provider to assist Toowoomba locals to get job ready and share in the opportunity the redevelopment of Grand Central will bring to this key regional hub,” Mr Pitt said.

“The redevelopment of Grand Central by QIC will create one of the best shopping centres outside any capital city – one that’s going to provide local jobs and keep retail dollars in the regional economy.

“Towoomba is already one of Queensland’s economic powerhouses, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state and more than 4,000 new jobs created in the past 12 months.

“And we’re keeping that momentum going with $321 million for the Second Range Crossing support 1,500 construction jobs and the upgrade of the Warrego Highway in our $35 billion State Infrastructure Plan.”

Minister for Skills and Training Yvette D’Ath said TAFE provided an invaluable platform to grow the skills and capabilities that were vital to the future development of regional Queensland.

“There is no greater investment we can make in our society than in our young people and empowering individuals through education and training,” Mrs D’Ath said.

Grand Central Centre Manager Shaine Beveridge said the centre was excited to help upskill locals for the many new retail and hospitality jobs being created as part of the redevelopment.

“As a major centre for local employment, and the region’s unrivalled community destination, Grand Central is committed to creating opportunities to enhance the city’s ongoing evolution and growth,” Mr Beveridge said.

“Today’s announcement represents a significant investment in skilling local residents to boost their employment prospects – whether that be at Grand Central or at another retail or hospitality business in Toowoomba.

“Grand Central has been operating in Toowoomba for 19 years, and we very much feel like part of the community, so we are proud this partnership will provide an opportunity to make a further contribution to the future of Toowoomba, beyond the stunning transformation the centre is undergoing.”

TAFE Queensland South West Director, Corporate Solutions Michele Berkhout said the team was delighted to be part of this community initiative which would help locals gain in-demand skills and develop their careers.

“This contribution from Grand Central towards training costs will allow many students to complete a qualification who might not otherwise have the opportunity,” Ms Berkhout said.

“Gaining a qualification in retail or hospitality will help residents of the Toowoomba region gain an edge when applying for jobs, open up pathways to further study, and provide exciting career opportunities.

“I encourage anyone looking to enter the industry or upgrade their current skills to take advantage of this great opportunity.”

The first courses supported by Grand Central contributions start from 11 April, 2016. Eligibility conditions apply.

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