DOZENS of job seekers have found work and a section of Bundamba Creek has been rejuvenated in a partnership between leading Ripley Valley developer Sekisui House and Challenge Employment and Training.
Assisted by $1.36 million in State Government funding, the Bundamba Creek Site project saw a total of 90 Conservation and Land Management trainees rehabilitate a section of the creek adjacent to Sekisui's Ecco Ripley community development between September 2015 and January 2018.
The project involved the planting and maintenance of more than 3,000 plants, the spreading of 1000 cubic metres of mulch and the hand clearing of weeds.
The trainees also helped to save the critically endangered Melaleuca Irbyana plant by harvesting seeds.
Challenge Employment and Training CEO Richard Lindner said 68 of the 90 trainees had found jobs after completing the project while a further nine had chosen to continue their studies.
"This program had a fantastic employment success rate of 76 per cent after the trainees graduated with their Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management,” Mr Lindner said.
"The trainees learnt a variety of skills including weed eradication, machinery operation, and plant establishment and maintenance.
"They also gained their White Card, ACDC chemical licence, exposure to heavy machinery, and chainsaw training.
"Many trainees have since furthered their careers by securing apprenticeships, and two have gained work with Brisbane City Council and Orange City Council.”
Challenge Employment and Training has nominated two of the project's trainees for 'Trainee of the Year' at the 2018 Queensland Training Awards.
Sekisui House development manager Frank Galvin said the company was thrilled with the outcome of the project in terms of both local employment and the Ripley Valley environment.
"It has been a win-win for the wider community with so many job seekers finding work after all their training and hard work on this important rehabilitation of Bundamba Creek,” he said.
"The rehabilitation works include the planting of native trees to encourage wildlife to use the creek, including koala habitat tree species.”
Mr Galvin said the project partnership had come after Sekisui House engaged with Challenge Employment to provide education and training opportunities to Ipswich residents.
"Bundamba Creek is a valued part of Ecco Ripley and the wider community, this initiative has been a great program to ensure it is protected for years to come,” he said.
"The area will eventually form part of Ecco Ripley's parkland which will include walking tracks, picnic areas and sporting fields.”
Mr Lindner said a significant proportion of the project's 3000-plus plants had been grown at the Challenge Employment and Training nursery.
He said the plants had been continuously maintained leading to a 90 per cent survival rate.
Species planted at the riparian site included Brush Box, Narrow Leaf Ironbark, Queensland Blue Gum, Melaleuca, Silky Oak, Creek Lilly Pilly, Flax Lily, Pink Bloodwood and Lomandra.
For more information about Ecco Ripley, visit eccoripley.com.au.