Local group, uni join forces to save teens' study
STUDY can be a challenge for anyone, but these young athletes have had to go through more than most.
Mid-way through their training into business and fitness qualifications, the students were left in the lurch when their training provider closed.
Luckily, Central Queensland Indigenous Development and CQUniversity were able to help, getting the teens back on track.
Among the nine to graduate were Yannawah Kaur and Tashina Ketchup.
All keen rugby league players, the group of teens leaped at the opportunity to combine their love of the sport with gaining academic qualifications and personal development that would help them secure future employment.
Reflecting on his education journey, Yannawah, 18, said it was "definitely fun with the sport and learning elements combined”.
He was very excited for the future and looked forward to securing employment using business qualification.
"I've been doing my Diploma of Business and a Certificate III and IV in Fitness,” Yannaway said.
"We've just been going out in the mornings training, then going to the gym and classroom work in between.”
Yannawah and his cohort were left high and dry half way through their training program when the Registered Training Organisation that offered their program, Careers Australia, went bankrupt.
Consequently the students weren't awarded their academic credits, had to redo subjects and were saddled with sizeable HECS debts.
Families and students were despairing at having the opportunity to become better educated and achieve goals ripped away from them.
"It was pretty bad because a lot of us didn't know what we were going to do after that,” Yannawah said.
"Lucky for Leanne (Field-Hamson at Central Queensland Indigenous Development) and the CQUniversity, they helped us out.”
CQID CEO Jason Field said consulted with families and started the process of finding alternative ways for the program to continue to run under its leadership.
With the support of Indigenous Advancement Strategy funding, CQID was able to troubleshoot gaining access to the students' records, hiring an alternative provider to teach the Certificate IV in Fitness, hire the CQUniversity gym; partner with CQUniversity to complete the Diploma of Business online and provide intensive tutoring and support to the students.
"We freed up some office space to run the program and give the students a base, and it's been great to have the young people become part of CQID,” Mr Field said.
"All 18 who joined up have benefited- we are equally proud of those who secured a job as we are of those who persisted with study.”
Member of the Emu Park rugby league team Tashina 19, was pleased to have earned her qualifications in fitness and was now looking at using them, possibly in a fitness coaching career.
She was very supportive of the educational experience.
"I've gained so much knowledge of fitness and the business side,” Tashina said.
"It was really good, I'd encourage heaps of people to do it, especially all the indigenous kids.
"Because there's heaps of opportunities out there.”