Innovative Ipswich school program upskilling local students

A first of its kind collaboration between Ipswich City Council and Ipswich State High School will see local students gain real world design and construction experience while improving the Ipswich CBD.

Woodwork and horticulture students in years 11 and 12 will initially create and plant up three to four planter boxes for Ipswich Central this school semester, with the opportunity to expand the initiative to larger projects in the future.  

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said this initiative allowed the city’s youth to play an active role in shaping the city while gaining hands-on work experience.

“Ipswich State High School’s innovative approach to education, combined with council’s willingness to create opportunities in the community, has established this first for the region,” Mayor Harding said.

“Collaborating with the students is a great way to instil community pride, an opportunity for a sense of accomplishment and these planter boxes will not only improve local amenity, but they will also play a very practical role in reducing the urban heat effect within our CBD.”

Ipswich State High Students Keely Hansen, Charlize Cochrane and Ipswich State High School Industrial, technology and design Head of Department Neville Jesse Head

Division 4 Councillor Kate Kunzelmann said the project started with a meeting at the school which sparked a conversation about how council could form a partnership that provides outcomes for both the students and the community.

“Seeing the students of the Ipswich State High School being involved in projects to revitalise the city and working together with council is a fantastic achievement,” Cr Kunzelmann said.

“The skills experience will be invaluable to students as they move into the workforce, and also engender a sense of belonging to their community.”

Ipswich State High School student Brayden Baker

Division 4 Councillor Russell Milligan said school-based trade training centre at the Ipswich State High School is one of the largest in the state and a real asset to Ipswich.

“It is wonderful to be part of such an outstanding initiative with this partnership that has been developed between Ipswich City Council and the Ipswich State High School,” Cr Milligan said. 

“The partnership has enabled horticulture and construction students to gain practical experience utilising their skills in projects that also benefit the residents of Ipswich.”

Ipswich State High School executive principal Simon Riley said this partnership was another initiative delivering pathways for students to develop real world skills while they are at school.

“Ipswich State High School is renowned for providing innovative programs to help our students achieve goals – from our High Performance Rugby League Program to our STEM program and now with council’s help, we have created another opportunity to deliver real-world solutions while improving the city through education.

“This partnership provides council with access to the Ipswich State High School Trade Training Centre and the construction, horticulture, civil construction and engineering students, to work on community projects with council staff and the planter boxes are just the beginning.

“Ipswich State High School is very proud of the reputation and work that is being produced by our Trade Training Students and we look forward to a long and productive partnership with council to deliver infrastructure to the community while providing our students with the opportunity to develop deep connections and sense of ownership of their city.”

Planter boxes in Bell Street, Ipswich Central

Mayor Harding said it is a wonderful opportunity for the students to hone their skills in design, carpentry, irrigation and horticulture.

“The students are involved every step of the way, from using computer-aided design programs to design the planter boxes to planting them out and helping choose where they should be installed,” Mayor Harding said.

“The contribution these students are making will have a positive impact on our city long after the construction of the planter boxes has finished.”

Three planter boxes have been placed in Bell Street and more are expected to be installed in Tulmur Place early in 2022.

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