30 November, 2023
Program gives youth good head start in employment
A PROGRAM helping disengaged youth get back into school or into employment has taken off in Mareeba.
Organised by First Nations leader and Wakaman tribe man Joseph Callope, Skills 360 and Mission Australia, eight teenagers participated in the 12-week “Skilling Queenslanders for Work” course, learning hands-on skills that will help them in the workplace.
Students also learned how to write a resume and were encouraged to “come out of their shell” and build confidence.
Skills360 mentor Philip Knocks said their main focus was to help kids come out of the course with a qualification to give them a head start.
“These are kids that have been disengaged and not doing so good in school or have left school and haven’t found work yet,” he said.
“So, the focus was to get them their Cert I in construction, which includes a white card, and also their first aid and CPR certificate.
“We had a Skills 360 trainer come around and teach them how to build little cubby houses with a typical house framing; we repainted the whole church (on Courtney Street) to help give back to the community and worked on, I guess, teamwork and coming together.”
Now the students have graduated the course, Joseph will be taking them on Country for one of his camps.
During the camp, they will learn about their culture and reconnection with the land.
He said he has already seen the positive impact the program and the camps have had on students and hoped he could continue helping them for years to come.
“I feel really proud of them,” he said.
“Eight of them have stayed the whole 12 weeks, and they have started to get closer to each other, and it's really good to see.”