2020 – a year of milestones

Happy New Year!

We’re looking forward to a big year in 2020 with a number of CTC staff members celebrating milestone birthdays – Hannah gets the key to the door in April, Denis hits a half century in June, Odette becomes a “flirty thirty” in July and Phil, though a bit coy about his milestone age, will in September celebrate what a great year 1960 was!

While technically 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of CTC, we’ll continue the celebrations during the 2019/2020 financial year because, to be honest, we weren’t quite ready last year!

On a personal level, 10th January 2020 marks the 15th anniversary of my employment with CTC. Fifteen years is a long time to work with one organisation, and is a good opportunity for me to indulgently reflect on my time at CTC.

For a number of years I had worked in various roles in the Department of Employment & Training both in TAFE and in the Regional Office and was ready for a change. So I jumped at the opportunity to take up a 6 month temporary contract at CTC who had received funding to deliver their first employment program under the Queensland Government’s Breaking the Unemployment Cycle initiative. I was able to take 6 month’s leave from the Department, meaning I had the fall-back of returning to my job in the Public Service at the end of the 6 months.

Little did I know in January 2005 that CTC would go on to deliver 45 employment programs and 6 youth programs until a change in government saw funding cease in 2012. And I never did return to my job in the public service!

Phil Diver was appointed as the new CEO in July 2006. He was to lead CTC in the direction of operating on a fully commercial basis. Existing CTC tenants were to be transitioned into paying market rents and there would be a push to attract new tenants to locate their business at a facility.  CTC would be seen as more vibrant and appealing as the founders always hoped it would be.

Phil was also a great support of our employment programs. Between 2005 and 2012, CTC assisted over 800 people into employment. Skilling Queenslanders for Work and its predecessor Breaking the Unemployment Cycle, provided 3 months paid work experience for people disadvantaged in the job market. They weren’t the only beneficiaries – our projects assisted community organisations who only needed to pay the cost of materials for building and landscaping work undertaken by participants under the expert guidance of our supervisors  who were all former tradies.

Our cohort of participants was varied, as were the beneficiaries of our work. Our first project in January 2005 assisted a group of post-release prisoners who learnt concreting skills which were in high demand at that time. Many went on to high paying jobs with large concrete companies. Other projects assisted refugees, indigenous men and women, young people and displaced workers from the Equine Influenza outbreak in 2008.  Community organisations who benefited were many and varied – schools, sporting clubs, Council parks – even an historic cemetery.

But the most notable to me was our response to the devastating floods of 2011. CTC had a reputation with the Department as a reliable, consistent provider and the community benefit was clear to see. Extra funding was put our way to assist in the recovery efforts. Many sporting venues around Brisbane were badly damaged by flood water inundating buildings and playing fields. And communities in the Brisbane Valley needed some heavy lifting to clear debris left after the Brisbane River flooding subsided.

But a change of government meant that the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative was ceased and we delivered our last program in early 2012. It was a difficult time for us because we lost some great people who had done amazing work, while passing on their skills and expertise to so many job seekers.

On the upside, 2012 saw CTC gain triple certification for its Integrated Management System, meeting the requirements of international standards for Quality (ISO9001); Environment (ISO14001) and Safety (AS/NZS4801). This was no mean feat for an organisation as small as ours. Eight years on, we’ve not only maintained our triple certification – this year we’re hoping to add Asset Management (ISO55001) and Facility Management (ISO41001) to our suite of Management Systems.

With the cessation of our employment programs, we needed to shift our focus. This is not to say that management of the precinct, attracting and managing our tenants was not the main focus of Phil and the team. But Phil had attended a conference about the sharing economy, and the departure of a key tenant in Building 3 and 4 offered the opportunity to introduce an innovative new collaborative leasing model that became known as “Hot Leasing”. In 2014 we launched the new facility spending $500,000 on state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure to enable high risk work license training on a “pay as you use” basis.

Always looking to innovate, in 2015 Phil got us thinking about worker well-being as a way of adding value to the landlord/tenant relationship. Central to this was the opening of a well-equipped gym which was made available to workers 24/7 for just a small annual fee. Other initiatives such as skin checks, flu vaccinations, nutrition advice, meditation and mindfulness training, a dedicated room for rest and relaxation and body composition scans were all offered free to workers at CTC. So successful was our initiative dubbed “whole-hearted-you”, CTC won an award for the Best Workplace Health and Well-being Initiative in the Queensland Safe Work & Return to Work Awards in 2016.

There have been so many more amazing moments in my 15 years at CTC. But these have been some of the highlights for me personally, because they were initiatives that I implemented, managed or I was actively involved with.

The Construction Training Centre is a fabulous place to work, and it has never been an effort coming to work each day. I have had the pleasure of working with wonderful people over the years and it’s testament to the culture of “work family” that so many former employees stay in touch long after they’ve left CTC.  I’m thrilled that many former staff members have used CTC as a launching pad for bigger and better things, both here in Brisbane and further afield.

I’ve enjoyed my relationship with tenant staff – and there have been many that I’ve sweated with during work-out sessions in the gym!

Our current team is small and tight and we all get on well. We have exciting challenges to look forward to 2020 and beyond, and I know our culture of supporting one-another will give us every chance of achieving the goals and objectives we’ve been set.

Special mention must go to my boss Phil for his continued support, encouragement, mentor-ship and especially friendship over the past 14 years (he started 18 months after me). He’s the perfect boss, with a fabulous sense of humour and some fun and quirky ways.  But he’s focused on the well-being of his staff and the continued good governance of the organisation, which is why year after year, CTC continues to deliver a financial surplus even through the ups and downs and economically challenging times.

Here’s to 2020 – a year of milestones and therefore parties, hopefully!!

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