The second graduating class of the Integrated Pathways at Kepnock (IP@K) program were recently awarded their certificates having completed two terms of exposure to various businesses around Bundaberg.
Established in 2022, the IP@K program aims to give disengaged youth alternative pathways to education and employment through interactive learning experiences with participating industry mentors.
Kepnock State High School (KSHS) Year Eight coordinator Danni Hibbert the program aims to give disengaged youth alternative pathways to education and employment through interactive learning experiences with participating industry mentors.
Kepnock State High School (KSHS) Year Eight coordinator Danni Hibbert said the program was not only beneficial for the students involved but for the participating businesses as well.
“Many businesses have wanted to support students in some way or other but are just not sure how to do so, so it’s a good opportunity for them,” Danni said.
“It’s been fantastic for both sides.”
Danni said the program allowed students to explore the kinds of job opportunities available to them, gain skills, meet industry mentors and add a certificate to their resumes, all of which would open pathways for them next year and beyond.
“It’s a great opportunity particularly for year nines and eights who’d be coming up to the age where they can actually get employment,” she said.
“A lot of them have been able to hand their resumes in to the industries they’ve been to and they already know some of the industry mentors so it’s broken down that barrier for them.
“For some students they would have been too nervous to approach them, so it’s definitely increased their confidence being part of the program.
“I’m so proud of the students today, it’s been great to go through the program with them, and I’m also proud of businesses in Bundaberg for supporting them.”
I@PAK's continued growth
Following the continued success of IP@K, the program was given another boost thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).
The grant was applied for on behalf of the IP@K Steering Committee by Bundaberg Regional Council to assist with resourcing and project delivery.
Funds were allocated to KSHS to cover staff supervision, transportation and resources; to Peirson Services to pay the cost of youth worker services for terms two and three; and to the Tom Quinn Community Centre to provide staff facilitators at workshops.
Mayor Jack Dempsey thanked all involved for the work that had been done with the program so far and said it had been demonstrably effective in encouraging participants to consider their career paths.
“I want to thank all the other organisations as well as Council staff that are doing a tremendous job in changing the lives of Bundaberg youth,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Thanks to this funding, the IP@K program can continue to support these students in helping to make positive decisions both in terms of their vocational choices but also life decisions as well.”
The initial three-month pilot of the IP@K program was completed in term two last year and resulted in a substantial drop in participating students’ behaviour entries logged on the OneSchool system as well as a re-engagement back into the formal schooling system.
The program has since tripled in size to support 30 students from years seven, eight and nine who have been able to build on relationships and further engage, expose and immerse themselves in relevant industry experiences.
Businesses involved in the 2023 IP@K program were:
- Alexandra Park Zoo
- Aust Chilli
- Bundaberg Brewed Drinks
- Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers
- Bundaberg Regional Libraries
- Bundaberg Rum
- Bundaberg Tourism
- Community Lifestyle Support and MAKI Space
- Drivers College
- Fairymead House
- Gin Gin and Dry Gourmet Fried Fruits
- Gin Gin Landcare
- Green Solutions
- Hinkler Hall of Aviation
- JetBest Group – Bee Mart
- Macadamias Australia
- Marquis Macadamias
- McHugh Steel
- Peirson Farms
- Peirson Services
- RDO Equipment
- Stahmann Webster
- Suncoast Gold Macadamias
- TAFE QLD
- Tom Quinn Community Centre
- Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services