Along-standing relationship with late Naracoorte tradesman Ian Hickson has been honoured this week, through the opening of a new Naracoorte office for Group Training Employment (GTE), as the organisation expands across the Limestone Coast.
GTE General Manager Greg Megaw said the launch of the Naracoorte CBD base, in addition to the existing Mount Gambier office, will open up greater training and employment opportunities for employers based across the region.
“GTE have been servicing the upper areas of the Limestone Coast for many years and after 39 years of operations, we believed it was time to increase our footprint by investing in an office building so GTE has a permanent presence outside of Mount Gambier,” he said.
“From Naracoorte to Robe, Kingston to Penola, we’re here to develop and support those communities by providing increased employment opportunities and support for employees and businesses in the area.”
At the opening of the Ormerod St office, Mr Megaw spoke of the many long-standing relationships between host employers and the organisation.
“Marcus Hawthorne from Hawthorne Builders was one of the first intake of GTE apprentices back in the 1980s, and Marcus is now employing the apprentices, having been one of our host employers for more than 15 years,” he said.
Mr Megaw said he was honoured to name the office boardroom after another long-time host employer – Ian Hickson, who passed away in late 2023.
Inviting Ian’s widow Lynette up to present her with a framed photograph, Mr Megaw said the image would take pride of place in the boardroom, as a reminder of what can be achieved with a strong community mindset.
“Ian was a long-standing host employer and tremendous supporter of GTE,” he said.
“I had the privilege of working with Ian in my time as a GTE Field Officer and he always volunteered his time and skills to those less fortunate, training some of the region’s finest carpentry tradespeople as a result.”
The opening was attended by Naracoorte and Lucindale Council representatives, including Mayor Patrick Ross and CEO Trevor Smart.
Experienced Field Officer Ivan Stuchbery will be based at the Naracoorte office, having been employed with GTE since 2021.
Mr Megaw said more than 3000 apprentices and trainees had been employed or trained by GTE in their 39 years of operation.
We’re very proud of that number, because we’re involved in the workforce of the future,” he said.
“Every day in your community, you probably run into someone who has trained or been employed with GTE, and many have gone on to start their own businesses and do amazing things in their own communities.”