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Senior college was Lincoln's saving grace

After struggling in the traditional high school learning environment, Lincoln Hirst took time out from his studies and moved to the South Burnett Region to work full time in refrigeration with his dad.

Being around other working adults and seeing the opportunities in the industry, Lincoln decided to focus on getting qualified to work in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry, which brought him back to Brisbane.

Lincoln decided to do Year 11 and 12 differently by enrolling in TAFE Queensland’s Senior College program at Alexandra Hills in 2018. The program helps those aged 15 to 17 complete their Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) or gain an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) rank in an adult learning environment.

Senior College saw Lincoln study high school subjects from Monday to Thursday, while he spent his Fridays completing his practical, entry-level certificate course.

During his senior studies Lincoln completed a Certificate II in Engineering Pathways (MEM20413) in Year 11, and a Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start) (UEE22011) in Year 12, setting him up to start the apprenticeship he wanted after finishing high school.

“I’d recommend Senior College to anyone, it’s the best thing I ever did,” said Lincoln. “With the help and encouragement of the teachers I was able to finish high school and work towards starting my career.”

“The teachers, staff and support workers allowed me to believe in myself again and I was able to realise my sense of purpose, work towards a career, and improve my quality of life.”

“The teachers have a different approach to teaching and are very focused on students as individuals. Through their help, I was able to complete my high school studies and get qualifications to keep working in refrigeration.”

Lincoln was also pleasantly surprised by the College's student culture, which was unlike his previous high school experience.

“All the students were super friendly, there weren’t any cliques or bullying because everyone wanted to be there,” he said.

“My classmates and I were all inspired by the progress we were making in our education. With each qualification we earned we could see how our careers were coming together, which gave us more determination to succeed.”

Lincoln made the most of the valuable opportunities that Senior College provided him, building valuable networks within the industry and being named the Senior College SkillsTech Student of the Year when he graduated.

He’s now making the most of the Queensland Government’s free apprenticeships for under 25s scheme and is working as an apprentice while completing a Certificate III in Air-conditioning and Refrigeration (UEE32211).

“Senior College is a great way to learn how to walk before you run, and I would recommend it to anyone — it was the best years of my life!”

Learn more about Senior College