Life skills workshops build capacity in Douglas Shire

The Douglas Shire in Far North Queensland is building a stronger community, one skill at a time

After identifying that many community members were keen to develop better life skills but were unable to access an opportunity to do so, the Douglas Shire Community Services Association (DSCSA) applied for an ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant, administered by FRRR.

Thanks to a grant of $3013, the association was able to run a five day workshop focusing on building skills to better manage daily life and personal affairs.

The DSCSA provides services to the Douglas and Cooktown regions focusing on people who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or marginalised within the community. The Shire is located 75 km north of Cairns, Queensland, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community makes up 8.4% of the shire’s 11,000 residents.

The 10 participants worked on skills including first aid, computers, grooming, budgeting and deportment. The aim of the program was to develop the self-esteem and professionalism of participants. Participants also had the chance to develop networking skills with their peers, and study nutrition in a hands-on way, by cooking and serving lunch.

After working their way through these every-day skills, it became apparent that the group would also benefit from employability and job seeking skills, and so they all went through  an intensive employability workshop. Participants learnt about the job process from start to finish, from goal setting and skill assessment, to writing job applications, and communication and problem solving in the work place, finishing with mock interviews. The training culminated in a graduation ceremony and a group lunch.

Since the course ended, graduates have been coming to the community centre regularly, as well as volunteering in the community garden. They are keen to attend more courses and build their skills base.

“This was a very successful program thanks to the funding that we received. We hope to make this an annual program,” said Kerry Jamison, Association president.

The workshops have been well received by the community, and participants have spread the message to their friends and family members. The Association has also received many expressions of interest for future workshops and they are looking forward to adding a nutrition element to future courses. 

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