THE BEAUTIFUL Ipswich initiative of Ipswich City Council is set to provide a double whammy of benefits.

The city will look more attractive and long-term unemployed people will acquire employment and a stepping stone to a future career.

Yesterday Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli was on hand to launch the first major partnership project with Challenge Employment and Training at Jamboree Park in Collingwood Park.

Challenge has received $875,000 over 12 months from the State Government via its Skilling Queenslanders for Work program to work with the council on the Beautiful Ipswich project.

Challenge Employment and Training general manager Michael Krafft said that the 15 conservation and land management trainees who started work yesterday would be paid for the next 20 weeks to totally revamp the park.

Along the way they will acquire a certificate 1 in conservation and land management, a chainsaw ticket and other key training.

“The entire program will create 45 jobs in total and from that we roll these people into full-time jobs, and our success rate is 75 to 80 per cent,” he said.

“These are long term unemployed people, all from Ipswich, and from here they move into full-time jobs.

“There is a lot of work planned for this park. There will be a wholesale redesign of the park and they will be putting in a huge number of plants and putting in garden beds.

“There are also shelters going in. We will be doing three projects over the next 12 months.”

Cr Antoniolli said 210 trees had already been planted courtesy of the Beautiful Ipswich project and the Collingwood Park works would provide dual benefits.

“It is about ensuring we improve our parks and recreational spaces, and improve the look of our suburbs, but more importantly, it is a great start-up for these young people to get into the workforce,” he said.

“If they can learn skills here that they can apply elsewhere it will improve their job prospects.”

Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard said the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative had been a job creator.

“We have spent almost $16.5 million in the Ipswich area alone on Skilling Queenslanders for Work projects and thousands of full-time jobs have been created,” she said.

The Beautiful Ipswich initiative was announced by former mayor Paul Pisasale ahead of his election campaign in 2016 and is now set to go into full swing. Divisional councillor Kerry Silver said she was thrilled a key park in her electorate would be enhanced.

“It is part of us making a commitment to our suburbs across the city. They count and they matter,” she said.

“We need to invest in our natural environment and give it a bit of a spruce-up.”

(Story from The Queensland Times: https://www.qt.com.au/news/beauty-and-jobs-bonus-from-council-project/3229141/)