School leaver pilot spreads its success

Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing The Honourable Grace Grace

Ten more state high schools will join a successful initiative – piloted in Townsville – that helps young Queenslanders transition from school to work or further study.

Speaking in Townsville today, Education Minister Grace Grace announced the latest wave of schools to join the successful Link and Launch initiative.

Ms Grace and Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper were at Kirwan State High School, where they met Link and Launch officers and some of the young local success stories who had benefitted.

Kirwan was one of four pilot schools to start the program in 2019, alongside Woodridge State High in Brisbane, Redbank Plains State Highat Ipswich and Bundaberg State High.

“It’s great to see that school leavers who are having difficulty in making the transition from high school to the next phase of life are being helped with this creative, individualised approach,” Ms Grace said.

“Link and Launch has assisted more than 360 young people moving on to jobs or further training or study.”

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said Link and Launch had been a great success at Kirwan, where more than 50 students had been assisted to find jobs or further education and training opportunities after leaving school.

“It can be a real challenge to navigate your way through the range of post-school study, training and work options and the Link and Launch crew are making a tangible difference for our young school leavers,” he said.

Following the 2019 pilot, another 10 schools joined in 2020 – including Northern Beaches and Townsville State High Schools, with another 10 joining for 2021.

Of the new 2021 schools, Link and Launch services have already commenced at Woree in Cairns, Morayfield, Wilsonton in Toowoomba, Lowood and Beenleigh State High Schools.

By the end of Term 1 the program will also be operating in Proserpine, Toolooa, Urangan at Hervey Bay, Nanango and Palm Beach-Currumbin State High Schools.

Kirwan State High School Principal Meredith Wenta said Link and Launch was a welcome addition to her school.

“Link and Launch services have helped us support young people who have completed Year 12, but who have not been able to find their pathway to work or further study,” she said.

“Navigating a pathway can be difficult for some young people, and Link and Launch supports our Year 12 completers to understand what’s available to them, and how to get on track for a bright future.”

Link and Launch is just one of the programs in place in Townsville, and across the state, to provide extra support for students.

They include:

  • FlexiSpaces, like the ones at Heatley Secondary College and William Ross State High, which provide inclusive flexible learning opportunities for young people. New FlexiSpaces will be available at Thuringowa and Kirwan State High Schools later this year.

  • The Queensland Pathways State College campus at Pimlico TAFE, which provides flexible learning programs for vulnerable Year 10-12 students with a focus on wellbeing as well as literacy, numeracy and workplace skills.

  • Youth engagement initiatives, such as the Clontarf and Stars Foundations, which mentor and coach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to encourage them to attend school and participate actively in learning. Clontarf works with male students at Kirwan, Townsville, Thuringowa State High Schools and Heatley Secondary College and Stars works with female students at Heatley, Pimlico and Thuringowa.

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