National Skills Week highlights Sunshine Coast’s training talent

Published Monday, 23 August, 2021 at 12:58 PM

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
The Honourable Di Farmer

TAFE Queensland trained chef, Alan Webster

TAFE Queensland trained chef, Alan Webster

The rise in trainee and apprenticeship numbers is showing the Palaszczuk Government’s record investment of more than $1 billion in training and skills is paying off, with people on the Sunshine Coast getting the qualifications they need for the jobs of the future.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said ‘RE-THINK’, the theme of this year’s National Skills Week, encouraged Queenslanders to take a good look at the many and varied careers available through vocational training.

“Wherever you are in Queensland, you deserve the opportunity to get world class training to help you get the right job,” Minister Farmer said.

“There has never been a more important time to do this, and that’s why the Palaszczuk Government put investing in training and skills at the heart of our $14.2 billion COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.”

Member for Nicklin, Robert Skelton, said the government was supporting young people on the Sunshine Coast with free training.

“We have free apprenticeships and free TAFE for under 25s across 165 priority skills areas including construction, health, and disability support services,” Mr Skelton said.

“And the figures show that it’s paying off: 45,700 apprentices and trainees started in the last financial year, which is a huge 56.6% rise on the year before.

“That includes over 3,400 right here in Sunshine Coast.

“Queensland is also the national leader in school-based apprenticeships and traineeships with 57% of the national total.”

Member for Caloundra, Jason Hunt, said having the right facilities was vital to ensure Queenslanders continue to get world-class training.

“That’s why we have invested over $220 million into renewing and revitalising TAFEs across Queensland since 2017 with another $100 million to come.

“Investment here on the Sunshine Coast includes over $2 million for the Mooloolaba Cyber Security Training Operation Centre.

“This will ensure our apprentices and trainees have world class facilities to train in and get the skills they need to change their lives.”

After moving with his young family from the United Kingdom to the Sunshine Coast in pursuit of a better lifestyle, father-of-two Alan Webster seized the opportunity to change careers and turn his dream of becoming a chef into reality by studying commercial cookery at TAFE Queensland.

While it was a leap from his work as a business developer back home, Alan said he had grown bored and craved a change of scenery that went beyond his actual surroundings.

“I kept thinking, ‘I’ve uprooted and moved my family all the way from England to Australia, I may as well choose something that I actually want to do’," Alan said.

“I’d never actually done cheffing before, but back home I was always excited by cooking,” he said.

Soon after completing his qualification in 2020, Alan was offered his dream job at one of the Sunshine Coast’s most prestigious and critically acclaimed restaurants — Spirit House.

But while getting to work for such an innovative and well-regarded restaurant was an opportunity he will always be incredibly grateful for, the committed father soon realised that the key to his happiness lay in spending time with his fiancée and their two young sons.

Alan made the decision to swap shift work for more family-friendly hours, taking on the role of chef at Evolution Childcare in Mooloolaba, where he works weekdays during daylight hours.

“My off days were Mondays and Tuesdays and because they’re at school, I barely saw the kids. Now, I'm able to properly spend time with my family and when I come back in to work after a weekend, I actually feel like I’ve had time off,” Alan said.

Minister Farmer said vocational education and training was vital to Queensland’s economy.

“We know that if you get the right training, you’re more likely to get the right job,” Minister Farmer said.

“I’d encourage every single person reading this to go and look up all the rewarding, lucrative and prestigious career opportunities available through vocational education and training.”

National Skills Week, which runs from August 23 to August 29, is an opportunity to raise awareness of the power of vocational education and training and the wide range of qualifications that lead to rewarding careers now and into the near future.

For more information about National Skills Week visit, or to learn more about subsidised training opportunities available to eligible Queenslanders visit

Media contact: Kate Talbot, 0439 803 211