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Geoffrey’s flyer finds him success

Stepping into the Nurunderi Campus, Geoffrey Dowling was on the hunt to learn something new, he left with a flyer that led to a life-changing study and employment opportunity. 

Due to a recent move back to the Cherbourg community, the proud Wakka Wakka man visited the TAFE Queensland campus in the hope of enrolling in a course to learn some skills to help him find employment. 

Spotting a flyer about the community’s First Nations Digital Service Centre on the counter became a life changing moment as he successfully became one of the first employees of the Cherbourg First Nations Service Centre. 

“I came into TAFE to see about a pre vocational program and I spotted that flyer,” he said.

“It was for an information session that sounded too good to be true. I kept asking if it was real.”

Community-owned and operated, the Digital Services Centre is a model for building independence and digital literacy skills, and creating real and sustainable jobs on Country for First Nations Queenslanders.

Community members engaged in the program are employed by Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council, undertake job readiness training and gain a Certificate III in Business (BSB30120) qualification from TAFE Queensland.

Growing to employ 30 community members in its first 18 months, the centre’s first client was tech-giant and founding partner Fujitsu.

Now in its second year of operation, the call centre continues to train and employ people from the Cherbourg community to answer calls and perform digital tasks for customers. 

Describing himself as “not really a scholar”, Geoffrey is loving the experience of learning as an adult and is looking forward to graduating in June 2024.

“I was used to working outdoors, in gardens and as a removalist, so I have had to learn everything – from Word to Excel,” he said.

“It’s been challenging but I’m really enjoying it.”

Building on the success of the Cherbourg centre, TAFE Queensland is also partnering with communities and corporate clients such as Telstra and the Queensland Government on new service centres on Palm Island and in the Cassowary Coast community of Jumbun and Yarrabah opens mid 2024.