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50-60 at-risk Rocky teens referred to Project Booyah

Bachelor of Social Work Honours student Shonelle Royal who will be assisting the joint Queensland Police-CQUniversity at-risk youth program, Project Booyah, helping them develop coping mechanisms.
Bachelor of Social Work Honours student Shonelle Royal who will be assisting the joint Queensland Police-CQUniversity at-risk youth program, Project Booyah, helping them develop coping mechanisms. Contributed

HANDS-ON experience can give some of the best lessons, something CQUniversity student Shonelle Royal is embracing with her degree.

The social work honours student will join early intervention program Project Booyah for a 16-week work placement to get practical experience working with 'at risk' youths.

It's a win-win for Shonelle and the Project Booyah participants, who are all set to learn from each other.

Project Booyah is designed to help youths who may otherwise end up in the justice system to integrate into employment, re-engage with education and develop healthy lifestyles.

Since it started in Rockhampton in 2016, dozens of teenagers have boosted their confidence and walked away with formal qualifications, gaining a Certificate II in Hospitality.

Shonelle will assist the program for 16 weeks, facilitating group sessions focused on conflict resolution, impulse control and drugs and alcohol.

She'll also conduct individual counselling with the teenagers.

"Booyah is all about providing support and building confidence and that is a really big thing for these young men,” she said.

Project Booyah Rockhampton Coordinator Senior Constable Joe Ramsay said it was fantastic to have Shonelle on their team.

"To have such a high-level student like Shonelle is invaluable,” Snr Const Ramsay said.

"This is the first time we have had a social work student undertake field education with the program.

"However, we have been working with the social work team for the past year and as a result also had a social work student volunteer and then secure a permanent position with Booyah.

"A lot of these boys walked out of school for their own reasons and it will be good to have skilled people like Shonelle to talk them.

"It's good recognition of how the program is going and it's a really good link between Social Work and Hospitality for CQUni.”

Snr Const Ramsay said the program continued to grow with between 50 and 60 referrals each semester.

The program will also expact to other parts of Queensland next year.

CQUni Social Work Lecturer and Field Education Coordinator Kate Moore said Booyah was an excellent opportunity for students looking for field education in their third and fourth years.

"Bachelor of Social Work students undertake a total of 1000 hours field education/placement over this period, and to source opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge, and apply the social work models of practice is essential,” she said.

"Booyah gives students an opportunity to work one to one with young people at risk of becoming part to the criminal justice system, and be part of the group work, education and training prevention to build on the strengths of our young people in CQ.”



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