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YMCA opens Vocational School campus

Bundaberg YMCA Vational School Students
Bundaberg YMCA Vocational School Students at the opening.

YMCA Queensland has officially opened a new vocational school campus in Bundaberg, offering a life-changing, innovative education pathway for students seeking an alternative to mainstream schooling.

This is the first vocational school the YMCA has opened in regional Queensland, with all other learning centres located in South East Queensland.

The YMCA Vocational School Bundaberg Senior Campus promotes a flexible, supportive learning environment for young people, especially tailored to those who struggle in conventional classrooms.

The new Bundaberg campus is already empowering more than 27 students in years 10 – 12 on their journey to employment, with enrolment numbers growing rapidly.

Student Mikaylah Wallis said she looked forward to the rest of the year at the new vocational school.

“It’s really accepting, as no other schools wanted us,” she said.

“They don’t judge us on what we did in our past here.”

YMCA Vocational School Principal Rella Taylor-Byrne said the Y was confident the Bundaberg campus would be successful and follow the model they have developed.

“Our mission is to positively engage young people in education and lifelong learning in an inclusive environment, empowering them to become well rounded, confident and healthy human beings who are able to gain employment or enter into further education,” she said.

“The demand for our School has grown exponentially since inception due to an increasing need and our overwhelmingly positive impact on students and their families.

“We continue to grow, evolve and adapt to remain effective in catering for the changing needs of our young people in an agile landscape and unique communities.”

YMCA Vocational School offers unique environment

The YMCA Vocational School focuses on the wellbeing of students and offers them a unique supportive learning environment that focus on individual needs.

It is an adjusted education program — with a mix of typical high school subjects, certificate courses, wellbeing and life skill sessions — that provides students with an opportunity to obtain a Queensland Certificate of Education and gain vocational certificates.

Structured rows of desks and a strict curriculum are swapped with more flexible and youthful learning spaces that encourage participation and engagement in class.

With a mix of typical high school subjects, certificate courses and other supportive programs, students are able to thrive and find a career pathway they are passionate about pursuing.

“It’s basically like a second chance,” student Jai Knightley said.

“It’s opened a lot more avenues for me.”

Bundaberg is the 10th YMCA Vocational School campus in Queensland.

“The Y completed extensive research to establish that there was a need for additional opportunities for individualised education in the local community,” said Jana Hadlow, the Y Queensland Business Services Manager.

More than $6 million has been invested into the new Vocational School campus, with $1,450,000 of funding received from the Australian Government under the Capital Grants Program (CGP) and $118,000 in Commonwealth EIS Funding.

Enrolments for the YMCA Vocational School are open all year round.

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