Building Skills on Thursday Island

In many small or remote Australian regions, the skills shortage is sometimes very evident. Without enough skilled people in a certain radius locals either have to go without, do things themselves or drive distances to obtain services city people take for granted.

It can affect access to services - including builders, mechanics and beauticians.

Thursday Island is the administrative centre for the Torres Strait islands which have been part of Queensland since 1872. "T.I." as it's usually known is only around three square km in area home to 2300 people. It is a place rich in history including being a major pearling area and a frontline for Australian Defence.

This history and its natural beauty has turned T.I into a popular tourist destination along with the rest of the Torres Strait which numbers 25,000 people. Local skills are more important than ever for maintaining these small but diverse communities.

The TRAWQ Community Council on Thursday Island has established several training and employment opportunities in the automotive and construction industries.

All skills are vital on the Island and this program shows how communities can initiate their own programs to address their growing needs.

With access to TAFE and other RTOs placed on the mainland, Thursday Island is ensuring it's on top of the future requirements of the Torres Strait with a particular focus on indigenous communities taking charge of sustainability.

VJ Linda Mirabilio