New Expo deal a win for Queensland Kids
The FOGS Indigenous Employment and Careers Expos will continue to help “bridge the gap” for another two years, thanks to the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
FOGS Executive Chairman Gene Miles is “delighted” to announce that a new funding agreement with the Federal Government with see the ultra-successful Expos continue in 2012 and 2013.
DEEWR Queensland State Manager Catherine O’Sullivan sealed the deal with the FOGS to continue the Expos, which drew record crowds around the state in 2011.
Gene said the new deal was a terrific result for Indigenous school-leavers, as well as their potential employers.
“I think the government can see the results that the program is having and the momentum it has created, particularly in the northern regions of Queensland,” Gene said.
“Obviously, a main driver of the Expos is getting kids in contact with potential employers. But they are aspiration-building exercises as well, with Year 10 students coming along and seeing the types of things that are available.
“These kids leave the Expos with some goals and direction in life, and then go back to their schools, take the appropriate subjects and set themselves off on a new course in life.
“We see that happen quite a bit, and it is genuinely fulfilling watching how we are having an impact on the lives of these young kids.
“We have had 14,000 people through the Expos in the past couple of years, and from that we have had more than 700 kids gain employment directly from the exposure to employers they received at the Expos.
“In an ideal world, we would love to be able to say we have seen 14,000 kids walk into jobs.
“But keeping things in perspective, that is 700 people who have gone into the work force to make a better life for themselves because of the Expos program.
“This new deal shows that the Government acknowledges the work that we do, and the results that we are achieving, and that is a nice feeling to have.”
Gene said the Expos may take on a new look for the 2012 and 2013 campaigns, with a number of centres now vying for their chance to host one of the limited numbers of Expos held during the year.
“We will need to have a look at the scheduling, but certainly the word has spread about the success of the Expos, and a number of other areas are now crying out for their chance to host one for their local communities as well,” Gene said.
“It would be terrific if we could get to everyone, but obviously that is just not possible.
“Areas like Gladstone, the Sunshine Coast, and even areas like Torres Strait around Weipa have applied to be involved in future years, so we need to look at that.
“The Government is very happy with the model, and how the Expos are working. Ideally, we would love to roll them out in all the major cities around Queensland, but we just can’t do that at this stage.”
Gene said the Expos were the perfect example of the influence of the FOGS being used to create a better life for Queenslanders.
“I don’t think there are too many other organisations out there that have the pulling power or profile that the FOGS are able to generate,” Gene said.
“But we are very fortunate that through rugby league, we are able to attract major business and corporate players to reach out and help these kids help themselves into a better life.
“We have had terrific support from the local communities wherever we go, and also from the many Indigenous men who have played Origin for Queensland over the years.
“Those former players and the people of the communities can see that we are very passionate about doing something for their people. We are working with them in the local communities to expose these kids to greater opportunities, and playing our part in closing the gap.”