Bundaberg Region high school graduates will have extra support to transition to further education, training or work after local schools were selected to pilot the Link and Launch program.
The State Government initiative will provide $750,000 to local schools over four years.
Bundaberg State High School principal Karen McCord said she welcomed the offer when approached to coordinate the program locally but had requested it encompass as many local high school students as possible.
Through the Bundaberg Youth Hub she said the six local state high schools had already done a lot of work around transitions.
“We’ve made a lot of progress as a cluster of six state high schools in making sure we are really conscious about what employers need,” Mrs McCord said.
“Our goal is to make local students more employable.
“I think that work placed us in good stead to receive this funding as part of the pilot program.
“They’ve made sure they had people who were passionate about making a difference.”
Mrs McCord said there were three other areas in Queensland involved in the Link and Launch pilot however the Bundaberg model was unique in that it was community based.
Link and Launch pilot to engage with school leavers
Some of the funding will be allocated to employing someone dedicated to connecting with students while they're at school to learn about their goals and interests and identify training, employment or volunteer opportunities that might help students reach those goals.
That person would also maintain connections with employers, training organisations and higher education facilities to create a bridge for school leavers and address regional skills shortages.
“Through this program we can keep engaging with young people after they leave school,” Mrs McCord said.
“Research suggests that through illness, disengagement, lack of activity, or lack of engagement in habitual meaningful practice such as work, for more than six weeks, can have a negative impact on engagement or re-engagement.
“The government has taken all of that research and looked at how we can make a difference as soon as young people leave school.
“The data that we’ll be tracking across the four years of the project will be very much about the number of students assisted into training or employment.”
Mrs McCord said she hoped that under the Link and Launch program each of this year’s approximately 450 graduates from Bundaberg, Kepnock and Bundaberg North State High Schools would be assisted.
As the program develops Mrs McCord said she was keen to explore how students from the other Bundaberg Youth Hub schools in Childers, Gin Gin and Rosedale could also be incorporated in to the project.
Youth hub develops strategic relationships
Through the hub, local schools already have strong connections with a number of large employers throughout the region.
“We’ve got some key players that are really keen to be part of this,” Mrs McCord said.
“With the links we already have strategically I think we are better placed to make a difference.
“It’s early days but the blueprint that we have in mind that has been reviewed at that next level, they’re very excited about the opportunities.
“In the briefing meeting I had with key Bundaberg Regional Council representatives two weeks ago, they too expressed not only their support for the program, but are keen to assist in any way we can make a difference for our young people.”
In August, Mrs McCord said all four principals from across Queensland involved in the program would have a planning meeting with a key representative from the minister’s office.
“We’ll be brainstorming around making sure we can be as strategic as possible in making a difference for students leaving school this year,” she said.
“There is potential that our model could be duplicated to help students across the state, hence this trial.”
In announcing the funding Education Minister Grace Grace said the program would be available to all young people across all Bundaberg high schools.
She said Bundaberg North State High would also receive $110,000 for resourcing, professional development and other support to enable a successful delivery of the FlexiSpace initiative.
“FlexiSpace is about engaging disengaged young people with education, employment or training,” Ms Grace said.
“In addition, a classroom within the school will be refurbished to provide an innovative and contemporary learning space for young people at a cost of $200,000.”