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CEQ Indigenous retail staff celebrate training milestones

Indigenous trainees at remote store operator Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) are celebrating after completing training this year towards their qualifications in retail.

Seven of the trainees, who work at CEQ stores across Cape York and the Torres Strait, have completed their Certificate III in Retail Operations.

Another seven trainees have completed their Certificate I in Retail, while a further 10 staff are undertaking their Certificate III in Retail, with plans to have these completed within the next 12 months.

The nationally-recognised qualifications provide a pathway to work in a diverse range of retail settings including supermarkets, specialty retailers, department stores, and quick service restaurants.

Two Indigenous cadets are also achieving their goals, with Kitty Lewis successfully completing her Certificate III in Business Administration, while warehouse cadet Jeremy Byquar is currently underway with a Certificate III in Warehousing Operations.

Kitty completed her cadetship in just 12 months through an online mode of delivery, which meant she was juggling full-time work with study.

CEQ Chief Executive Officer Ian Copeland said CEQ was passionate about providing training opportunities for its employees, the majority of which are Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal peoples.

“We have a real desire to establish local people in local jobs, and we can help achieve this by investing in the future, as shown throughout all our stores,” said Mr Copeland.

“All the trainees are an absolute credit to CEQ, themselves, their families, and their communities in general.

“To undergo their traineeships, they’ve had to show outstanding dedication and expertise in their work.

“We’re all thrilled at their achievements and are proud to call them CEQ employees."

The newly-qualified CEQ employees who completed their Certificate III were employed at Col Jones and Mitre 10.

They are:

  • Dalton Cowley (Mer)

  • Gem Gigiba (Saibai)

  • Irene Bani (Mabuiag)

  • Karina Rawson (St Pauls)

  • Lloyd Gimini (Saibai)

  • Michael Brook (Bamaga)

  • Tina Asela (Dauan).

In addition to this certified training, 348 online training units were completed during the 2020-2021 financial year.

There were also 75 hardware online units completed, together with 243 face-to-face technical training sessions delivered across CEQ outlets, while 99 staff across the organisation attended professional development.

“These newly-qualified staff are just another example of the opportunities CEQ creates in building capabilities and skill-sets in communities for Indigenous people across Far North Queensland.”

CEQ is a not-for-profit organisation responsible for providing goods and essential services to the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), mainland Aboriginal remote communities, and Palm Island through its 28 stores.

CEQ’s Corporate Office is based in Cairns, and manages Islanders Board of Industry and Service (IBIS) and Aboriginal Business, Industry and Service (ABIS) mainland stores, as well as other stores including Col Jones and Mitre 10 on Thursday Island.

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