Monday 22 January 2018
By Emma Sckrabei

It was a big year for Ginninderry’s unique training and employment initiative, SPARK. The program has grown over the course of 2017, partnering with local and national groups to help residents of the Capital Region reach their full potential.

Last year, SPARK delivered nine programs in Canberra and one in Yass, with all graduates going on to secure a combination of local training places, work experience and paid employment opportunities.

“Seeing our SPARK participants grow, develop their skills and secure employment has been so rewarding,” says Emma Sckrabei, SPARK Training and Employment Manager. “The success of these programs has meant additional workshops have been added to the training programs, including education around healthy eating and cooking, yoga, and developing participants’ financial literacy skills. SPARK has also partnered with OzHelp, to offer mental health support for construction program participants. In 2018 we hope to expand these offerings to more of our programs, including providing mentoring and study support to all program participants”, Emma said.

In 2017, Ginninderry’s team of all-SPARKs celebrated a particular achievement – winning the 2017 ACT Training Award in the Industry Collaboration Category, for the Belconnen Community Service Childcare Pre-Employment Program.

Further highlights have also included supporting the development of the Mower Shed social enterprise with Uniting Care Kippax. The initiative employs local people to work within the landscaping and horticulture sector to build their confidence and skills to re-enter the workforce again. The Mower Shed is currently doing commercial work for Ginninderry and Spotless.

“One of our primary purposes of SPARK is to re-connect people with the education sector in a supportive, and hands-on learning environment”, Emma said. “Being able to connect with people, and help them find something they’re passionate about, is one of the best parts about being involved in a program like this.”

And the good news is, thanks to the success of 2017, more programs are on the way, with three in the pipeline for early 2018 including:
• Yass Construction Program (from 6 March 2018)
• Belconnen Return to Work Program for Women (from 6 March 2018)
• Belconnen Community Service Early Childhood Education and Care Pre-Employment Program (from 19 March 2018)

For information on these programs, click here.