Innovative training program recognised in top 5 while welcoming second intake

CIAF-Evolution-Trainees-Keene-Reading-Tei-ri-Whaleboat-Arrira-Hollingsworth-Jessica-GrainerFulfilling one of its key responsibilities in developing future leaders, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) has welcomed its second intake of Indigenous trainees on the same day it was ranked one of Queensland’s top five training organisations.

CIAF has been recognised in the 2022 QLD Training Awards’ Community Training Initiative of the Year category (Tropical North Queensland) for its ground breaking training program, The Evolution Project. In November 2021 all four trainees graduated while securing a further 12 months employment with the organisation.

CIAF General Manager Darrell Harris said he is thrilled to learn the good news which progresses the organisation and its innovative training program (introduced in 2021) to the regional finals stage with winners announced in July 2022. “The announcement is also timely on the day we welcome our second, 2022 intake of four Indigenous trainees,” said Mr Harris.

According to Mr Harris, in 2021 The Evolution Project formed part of the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative and was created to leverage CIAF’s multi-dimensional event platform while opening training and career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“We developed this program using a multi-faceted approach which resulted in mutually beneficial outcomes for everyone involved from the provision of skills and employment for trainees to sustaining the current and future growth of our organisation,” he said.

“By the time our trainees graduated in November last year they had gained a Certificate 1 in business with first-hand experience in administration, event production and exhibitions, marketing, visual and performing arts and now know what it takes to stage Australia’s premier Art Fair and quintessential celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture,” he said.

Since 1962 the Queensland Training Awards have focussed the spotlight on excellence in training and the transformative power of skills development. The awards comprise 14 categories recognising both individuals and organisations striving for success, best practice and innovation in vocational education and training.

Spanning five days between Wednesday 6 and Sunday 10 July 2022, CIAF returns to hosting a physical event in 2022 after two years of online programming.

Taking cue from the 2022 theme, Masters of Country, CIAF will shine the spotlight on Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture, featuring the work of approximately 300 visual artists and 150 performers across the multidimensional program of mostly free, family friendly events.

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) marks its coming of age and 13th season with a new and more spacious headquarters at the newly refurbished Cairns Convention Centre. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: CIAF Evolution Trainees (left to right) Keene Reading, Tei-ri Whaleboat, Arrira Hollingsworth and Jessica Grainer (supplied)