A history of helping shape the future

LASTING LEGACY: Former Group Training Employment general manager (1991-99) Steve Toope, The GTE Story author Graham Greenwood and GTE visionary and instigator Colin Thompson. Pictures: FRANK MONGER

THE significant community impact of Mount Gambier’s Group Training Employment (GTE) has been immortalised in a new book documenting the organisation’s 35-year history.

Launched earlier this month, The GTE Story delves into the highs and lows since establishment and reveals how the organisation has supported the region’s young people.

More than 3000 apprentices and trainees have graduated and become the new generation of skilled technicians through GTE, with general manager Greg Megaw attributing it to a combined community effort.

“Through its 35 year history GTE forged a great relationship with its “host” employers and developed an especially important partnership,” Mr Megaw said.

“GTE always supported the process and facilitated the onsite training and employment of the next generation of tradespersons,” he added.

“It is fair to say the person in the street would have little idea of what GTE does but more so what it has achieved in 35 years of operation, particularly for younger people.

“Its diligent work in this particular field has enabled it to establish itself as one of Mount Gambier’s ‘hidden gems’.”

The GTE Story was written by Mount Gambier author Graham Greenwood, highlighting the organisation’s long journey since establishment in 1985 where a small number of staff worked in a tiny limestone unit on the TAFE SA site after local councils, community organisations, as well as Rotary and Lions clubs joined forces with Colin Thompson, a man who had a vision to create better employment opportunities for apprentices and trainees.

In the book’s introduction, Mr Greenwood praised the organisation’s achievements over 35 years, labelling it an established leading business and skills training ground and “a city icon in helping build Mount Gambier’s business leaders of tomorrow”.

“Its ability to endure in one of businesses most difficult markets – youth employment – and become the success it has, is testament to the dedication and determination of those who helped establish the organization and the directors, management, staff, apprentices, trainees and “host” businesses who have been part of the GTE journey,” Mr Greenwood wrote.

Mr Megaw said as Mount Gambier continued to grow, its demand for apprentices and trainees to become the next generation of tradespeople or skills personnel to shape the city’s future would continue.

“The book shows how it will be organisations such as GTE, with 35 years of experience behind them, which will be a significant player in providing the skills needed for businesses of the future.”

Free copies of The GTE Story are available from the organisation’s Mount Gambier headquarters at 173 Commercial Street West.