Bundaberg Year 11 student Tyrone Shaw has discovered a passion for horticulture which is helping him to re-engage with his studies thanks to support from the Ignite Program.
The program assists students at risk of disengaging with school by offering up alternative study options and hands-on work experience.
Project officer at the Bundaberg Regional Youth Hub Jo Donnison said it was through Ignite that students like Tyrone were able to find their own path in successfully completing their education.
“Mainstream education proved difficult for Tyrone for varied reasons but predominantly due to his struggles with developing sound literacy skills in his early schooling years,” Jo said.
“He initially engaged with Ignite when he was in Year 8 and with the assistance of a personalised learning program, developed in conjunction with Vocational Training Queensland (VTQ) and the Bundaberg State High School Rapid Reading Program, his literacy and numeracy skills have improved.
“To help Tyrone become work ready, he then completed a Transition to Success with Youth Justice in 2020 and with their support, Tyrone was able to gain a Level One Chainsaw and Certificate II in Horticulture.”
With those technical skills under his belt, Jo said Tyrone needed an opportunity to gain real-life experience.
“With assistance from Youth Justice, an offer of work experience with Shalom College was accepted,” Jo said.
“Tyrone has worked with the facilities team at Shalom for the past term performing a range of duties.”
The Bundaberg student said his work experience was not only helping him decide what he wanted to do in the future, it was also building his confidence levels and skillset in many different areas.
“I prefer doing this than sitting in a classroom, it is a lot more fun being outside and getting dirty,” Tyrone said.
“My dad worked out on a farm and I used to help all the time.
“I have always loved being around plants.
“I am also doing a bit of mechanical work, which is something new for me.”
Attending Ignite two days a week and working at Shalom College the other three has meant Tyrone can still work on his numeracy and literacy while growing his employability skills and building his resume for future job opportunities.
“Tyrone has discovered a passion for horticulture and land management, something he is genuinely good at and is looking forward to gaining further skills and paid employment in this field,” Jo said.