Without a quality education these at-risk young people can spiral into further disadvantage. To help combat this problem, TAFE Queensland has partnered with the Men of Business (MOB) Academy to offer a Trade Taster program to underprivileged young men on the Gold Coast.
One day a week for nine weeks, the MOB Academy boys in Year 11 and 12 attend TAFE Queensland's Trade Training Centre at Ashmore to try their hand at a trade. The first cohort graduated from the Trade Taster program in October, using the program as a pathway into a certificate course or apprenticeship.
MOB Community Project Manager, Nathan Antonik said the program has made a lasting impact on the students.
“Our boys benefited immensely from learning in an adult environment and they returned to the academy with a sense of excitement and motivation to work hard and achieve their goals,” he said.
“The program encourages our students to explore their vocational options and set goals to one day become a proud TAFE Queensland student themselves.”
Mr Antonik said by fusing education and life skills the academy aims to create well rounded, employable and inspired men.
Throughout the program students choose from a selection of trade areas including light automotive, engineering, electrical, plumbing, furnishing, motorcycle mechanics, carpentry, rail, flooring technology, heavy automotive, and occupational health and safety.
MOB Academy supply safety boots, uniforms and daily meals to the students during the program, while TAFE Queensland delivers the training, provides industry insight, and supports resume preparation.
TAFE Queensland General Manager on the Gold Coast, Karen Dickinson said education is the greatest gift for these young men and a way out of the cycle of disadvantage.
“Education empowers people to control the direction of their life, build stability, and live up to their full potential,” she said.
"If we don't provide opportunities like this for them now, we run the risk of them not achieving their education potential.”
“The knowledge and support from teachers during the Trade Taster program will provide a stepping stone to complete a well-rounded and fulfilling education.”
The Trade Taster Program is fully funded by the Queensland Government and is offered at no cost to eligible students.