$1.5M training centre for Biloela

A $1.5 million training facility will create jobs and reduce the need for Callide Dawson apprentices to travel away for training.

The new facility, to be called the Banana Engineering Skills Training Centre or BEST Centre, will be constructed in Raedon Street Biloela on land donated by Banana Shire Council using a $1.5 million grant from the Federal Government.

The complex will be run by Gladstone Area Group Apprentices Limited (GAGAL) will be operating by July 1 next year.

GAGAL general manager Kerry Whitaker said they had been dreaming of the centre for almost four years.

“It has been a long drawn out process,” Ms Whitaker said.

“We identified a need for skills training in the Biloela region and have been working on a proposal for some time now.

“We have had changes in governments, council amalgamations and changes in Ministers which made submitting the proposal difficult, but with the support of Banana Shire Council, CS Energy, Anglo Coal and other industry in the valleys, our submission to the Rudd Government been successful.”

The BEST Centre will include an engineering workshop as well as training rooms and office space.

Currently all apprentices in the Callide Dawson region travel to Gladstone, Rockhampton or Mackay to access off the job training.

The new centre would deliver the required theoretical components to GAGAL's engineering apprentices.

GAGAL will also be able to operate an engineering workshop where its apprentices and trainees can complete private works not currently being done by local engineering businesses.

The old GAGAL office in Kariboe Street will be converted into apprentice accommodation for those who need somewhere to stay while attending training at the centre.

Ms Whittaker said work would start on site as soon as possible with local construction apprentices and sub-contractors engaged on the project.

Federal Member for Flynn Chris Trevor described the project as a fantastic investment for Banana Shire that would deliver stronger skills and stronger local industries well into the future.

“Currently our apprentices have to travel long distances to receive compulsory training.”

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