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Teen sets sights on joining police force

From a young age, 17-year-old Aaron Roberge wanted to become a Police Officer so he could help protect vulnerable members of his community and stop others from going through what he's experienced.

Life hasn’t always been easy for the Helensvale teen — he has witnessed violence from a young age which has severely impacted his wellbeing, relationships and self-belief.

“When I was younger a lot of people who are close to me got hurt and it really affected me emotionally and had an extremely negative impact on my life,” said Aaron.

“I was about thirteen when I realised that joining the police force was what I wanted to do so I could try stop it from happening to other people, and I've been chasing that dream ever since.”

Now, thanks to a partnership between TAFE Queensland and MOB Academy where Aaron attends high school, he's one step closer to joining the force with a scholarship to study the Certificate IV in Crime and Justice (10283NAT) at TAFE Queensland’s Southport campus.

“When I found out I'd received the scholarship I was very excited and happy — but I tried not to react too much because I was in class at the time,” said Aaron.

“Money and finances have been difficult, so the scholarship means I can now do what I actually want to do without having to put financial pressure on my family.”

Completing TAFE Queensland’s Certificate IV in Crime and Justice (10283NAT), which was developed in consultation with the Queensland Police Service (QPS), will provide Aaron with knowledge and specialised skills to increase his employment opportunities with the police service.

Though faced with a series of challenges, Aaron has never lost his ambition and continued with unrelenting drive.

“Being at the MOB Academy has helped me get the courage and motivation to actually do the things I need to do and I am very thankful that TAFE Queensland gives students like me the opportunity to get a scholarship,” he said.

“Straight after graduating next year I plan to join the QPS Academy and undertake training to gain employment as a protective services officer.”

MOB Community Project Manager, Nathan Antonik said the academy partnered with TAFE Queensland as a necessary step to support disengaged boys.

“We work collaboratively with TAFE Queensland to design a range of tailored programs and modes of delivery to suit our boys’ needs and increase their employability.”

“We have found the partnership extremely positive and it has had a big impact on our students in terms of opportunities and decision making for their future pathways.