The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) is one of the most anticipated events in Queensland’s history. The quadrennial event, last held in Glasgow in Scotland, will drive hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists to the Gold Coast, benefit local businesses and accommodation providers, and guarantee economic and reputational benefits for Queensland for years to come.
Undoubtedly, such a large event requires a workforce of high-skilled, highly-committed individuals from all walks of life; from catering, security and venue care to cleaners, paramedics and volunteers, every role is critical in the event’s success.
In February 2016 TAFE Queensland announced its Tier One Partnership Agreement with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) as the official training partner of the GC2018 Commonwealth Games. Together, TAFE Queensland and GOLDOC developed a bespoke, innovative online and in-person training program to accommodate the induction and training of more than 15,000 students, businesses, event leaders and volunteers.
GOLDOC Head of Workforce Jess Platts said the partnership with TAFE Queensland was a natural fit for the Games.
“I have worked across multiple Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games and other major events throughout my career, all over the world. The most successful events have used vocational education providers to supply training to the workforce, so when TAFE Queensland approached us to be involved it seemed like an obvious choice,” she said.
“TAFE Queensland has a long-standing reputation across the country as the experts in delivering practical training and hands-on skills to everyone from individuals and small groups, to thousand-strong workforces.
“GOLDOC trusted TAFE Queensland to develop and implement a one-of-a-kind training program to the Commonwealth Games workforce, and they have delivered far beyond expectations.”
Playing a key role in the development of the training programs, GOLDOC Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Wynter said the success of the partnership will carve the pathway to success for similar events for years to come.
“As part of the Commonwealth Games, TAFE Queensland delivered more than 360,000 hours of training across more than 200 different volunteer roles,” she said.
“From spectator services to medics and everything in between, TAFE Queensland’s venue and role specific training spans across a range of industries, all designed to provide the best possible experience for the million plus guests who will be attending events across Queensland during the Games.
“TAFE Queensland has also delivered event leadership training to GOLDOC staff and volunteers, arming them with the skills to be a successful leader. The training involved teaching them how to respond to real-life scenarios, which meant they were ready for anything come Games time.”
TAFE Queensland Gold Coast Region General Manager Karen Dickinson said the organisation’s working relationship with GOLDOC has stretched over a number of years and resulted in a highly collaborative approach to developing training unlike anything the organisation has seen before.
While TAFE Queensland’s partnership with GOLDOC and the GC2018 Commonwealth Games will see thousands of students and volunteers get a taste of the action throughout April, the skills learnt and connections made will ultimately leave a legacy for Queensland’s workforce.
“As the training partner for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, TAFE Queensland has delivered a training program that is not only going to equip local businesses and students for the Games, but set them up with transferable skills to take with them into the future,” said Karen.
“Working towards building a thriving economy in Queensland and across Australia is important for TAFE Queensland and making sure we marrying up skills of our graduating students with industry requirements is absolutely critical to what we do - and we do a damn good job in that space,” she said.
In order to deliver such an innovative and user-friendly training service, which operates predominantly online, TAFE Queensland and GOLDOC custom-developed a brand new system for students and volunteers alike to complete their training on any device, anywhere, at any time.
Simon Zanchetta, TAFE Queensland’s Manager of Technology Support, was the technical mastermind behind the development of TAFE Queensland’s training system for the GC2018 and said the partnership challenged both organisations to push boundaries and deliver a superior product.
“The partnership between TAFE Queensland and GOLDOC has been a really exciting project to work on, and having started working with their team a number of years ago now, it’s been a great journey,” said Simon.
“Combined, we have been able to leverage the capabilities of both organisations and really work together as a solid team to deliver the best user experience possible for the volunteers and students,” he said.
According to Simon, the development and delivery of TAFE Queensland’s GC2018 training system is just the beginning, given the organisation’s expertise in training and education.
“TAFE Queensland is celebrating 130 years in the vocational sector so we have a lot of expertise and experience to draw from, but we are not prepared to settle on what we have done in the past. We really want to use the technology and use the systems that we have to really innovate wherever we can,” said Simon.
“There is a huge opportunity for TAFE Queensland to work with industry partners, like GOLDOC, to help them realise and harness their potential and explore what might currently be considered impossible. I don’t think we’ve realised how far we can go yet; really this is just skimming the surface,” he said.
Gold Coast local Rebecca Moore is thrilled to be a volunteer for GC2018, where she will be a Fleet Driver at the Central Depot, driving delegates and dignitaries to and from their destination during the Games.
Moore said she jumped at the chance to become a volunteer for GC2018 and was inspired by her kids to give back to the community.
“I grew up playing sport, socially as well as representatively, I love it. I encourage my kids to get involved in sport and the community and by getting involved myself, I am showing my children what giving back can do for you, not only socially, but getting exposed to a wealth of experiences and knowledge that you can draw on in your everyday life,” said Rebecca.
“It gives you the chance to try something new, that you may not normally be involved in. I’m really looking forward to being part of the GC2018 community and meeting new people and just jumping in and enjoying every moment,” she said.
Thanks to TAFE Queensland’s custom-designed online platform, Rebecca was able to fit her training in around her husband, two kids and full-time job.
“I work full time, so completing my training through a flexible program hosted online suited me perfectly. I was able to do what I needed to do during the day and then could log in at home after the kids were in bed and my hubby had fallen asleep on the couch. The system was easy to use and smart enough to remember where I was up to each time I logged in,” said Moore.
“The training that GOLDOC and TAFE Queensland has provided have given me the confidence to successfully navigate whatever situation I may come across,” she said.
TAFE Queensland has a long and proud history of providing practical learning experiences. Partnering with the GC2018 is another way in which TAFE Queensland continues to Make Great Happen for Queenslanders, by enabling them to do extraordinary things in front of a global audience.