Teens get a taste of work in Townsville

"I love seeing the kids grow with Maccas. Some of the managers working here were hired when they were 14."

November 29 2016

The newest crop of McDonalds trainees from Townsville Lakes and Aitkenvale

McDonalds Townsville Lakes and Aitkenvale are leading the way in Indigenous employment, recently taking on 12 Indigenous school-based trainees as part of the Australian Government’s Jobs, Land and Economy (JLEP) program.

McDonalds HR and Training Manager Samantha Stevens said the program would benefit not only the store, but the trainees’ career aspirations.

“The trainees complete their Certificate II and III with us, which can go towards their Queensland Certificate of Education and their OP (Queensland’s tertiary admissions rank),” she explained.

“We gain a lot of qualified staff through the program, and the trainees can go on to uni or start their pathway to McDonald’s management. A lot of our managers go through this training and on to their Certificate IV, so there’s a definite career pathway after this.”

The JLEP program focuses on connecting Indigenous mentors with schools to help Indigenous youth build their career path. MAX Employment Indigenous mentor Luke Hunter is thrilled with the students’ commitment and enthusiasm to their traineeships.

“These guys are doing really well. For some of them this is their first job, and it’s good to see their families and school supporting them and helping to kick start their careers,” he said.

“The aim of it all is to increase the rate of Indigenous adults in long term employment, so if we get started with mentoring and training in schools, that’s huge.”



Natalie Howard, Community Education Counsellor at William Ross State High, has worked closely with Indigenous mentors like Luke and said the program will go a long way to improving outcomes for Indigenous students.

“17 of my Indigenous students graduated last year with a Queensland Certificate of Education, and seven of them have gained positions at James Cook University,” Ms Howard explained.

“It’s important to elevate the profile of our Indigenous students because we’re underrepresented in a lot of professional areas. If programs like this were in schools back when I was in school, outcomes for our people would be very different.”

As for Samantha, she said she is excited to see where the trainees end up in a few years’ time.

“It’s a big achievement, I love seeing the kids grow with Maccas. Some of the managers working here were hired when they were 14, and now they’re 19 and 20 and running shifts as managers, or are off to uni!”
 
For more info on Indigenous traineeship opportunities in QLD, please contact Eddie Mills on 0418 784 703.

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