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SPARK your passion: a Canberra-first program for young jobseekers

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Deciding your career direction as a young person can be tricky.

When I cast my mind back to my school days, I remember feeling woefully prepared to make a decision that frequently felt as though it would determine the direction of the rest of my life.

That’s precisely the reasoning behind the fully-funded SPARK JobTrainer Industry Explorer Program, which aims to give young people an opportunity to explore a variety of potential career paths through a unique, taster-style approach.

The initiative is one of the latest additions to Ginninderry’s award-winning SPARK program, which they’ve been delivering and evolving since 2016.

“What we noticed is that we had lots of young people who were coming to our information sessions for our programs, saying ‘I don’t want to be at school’, or ‘I’ve just left school and I’m not sure what to do’,” explains Emma Sckrabel, Ginninderry’s Head of Community, Training & Employment.

“We had this idea that it would be wonderful to do a taster program for young people so that they could get a bit of a snapshot of different industry sectors, rather than locking themselves into one thing without actually trying different areas.”

The program is delivered in partnership with Skills Canberra, the Canberra Institute of Technology, and Uniting Care Kippax.

It’s the first of its kind in Canberra and delivers nationally accredited units of competency across seven industry sectors, including community services, conservation land management, construction, cybersecurity, early childhood education and care, horticulture, and hospitality.

“The simple reason that these seven industry sectors were selected is that these areas are considered to have skill shortages,” explains Emma.

“That means that for young people, or any person looking to enter the workforce or upskill due to COVID, there are employment opportunities.”

In addition to the units of competency, participants will also gain a suite of value-add licenses, certifications and special support to help gain employment. These range from Asbestos Awareness through to the Responsible Service of Alcohol, as well as Road Ready for those who’ve yet to get their learner license, and assistance with preparing for and applying for jobs.

“It’s all very well to deliver a qualification,” says Emma, “but to actually get a job, those extra tickets and licenses that we’ve included in the program are the things that you need and that employers look for to get a job.”

If you’re wondering what a developer like Ginninderry is doing offering training and employment programs, you’re not alone. Emma says it’s a frequent question, but one that directly connects to their identity and approach to business.

“Our project is more than bricks and mortar, it’s about people. We have a social imperative to ensure that the economic benefits of our project are shared amongst the local community.”

“If we can run a model like this that helps people, trains them up and gets them working and educated, then we’re more than happy to do our part for the local community to help generate those kinds of opportunities.”

The SPARK JobTrainer Industry Explorer Program will run as three full-time, 13-week programs across 2021, the first of which begins on the 22nd of February.

For those interested in enrolling or finding out more, Ginninderry is holding an information session for the first program on Wednesday 10 February at the CIT Bruce Campus Library.

As a fully-funded program, eligibility conditions apply. To start with, you must be aged 17 to 24, living in Canberra and not enrolled in secondary or college education. Ginninderry encourages those who are interested to reach out to assess their individual eligibility.

“We’d love for people to contact us so that we can have a good chat and if we think they’re suitable based on some brief questions we’ll ask, then we’ll book them in.”

The 60 participants across 2021 will receive support throughout the program, thanks to a full-time support resource funded by Skills Canberra provided through a partnership with Uniting Care Kippax.

“It’s important to us that we have a mentor that starts at the very beginning of our program and journeys alongside our participants.”

“If people aren’t turning up, we go find them and support them. We know that life can get a bit bumpy for some people, so our full-time relationship manager is there to make sure that people don’t only start our programs but finish, and we support them as best we can to do that.”


What: SPARK JobTrainer Industry Explorer Program information/enrollment session
When: Wednesday 10 February from 11 am to 12.30 pm
Where: The CIT Library at CIT Bruce Campus
Book: To reserve your place at the information session, or to check your eligibility, please contact Shayla at Ginninderry on 1800 316 900 or spark@ginninderry.com


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