The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys held a special breakfast gathering at 1300SMILES Stadium on Friday to celebrate National Reconciliation Week and the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and young people participating in a number of Cowboys community programs.

Joining the celebrations were Cowboys prop Sam Hoare and Cowboys community engagement officer and club legend Matt Bowen.

Senior secondary students participating in the Cowboys Learn Earn Legend! program received a special welcome to the morning by former program participant Tristan Nelliman, who graduated from school and the program in 2013 and is now working as a project officer at Catholic Education.

Current Cowboys Learn Earn Legend! participant Kali Close, a year-12 student at Townsville State High, also spoke to the group about Reconciliation Week and its significance to her and her people.

Funded under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, the Cowboys Learn, Earn, Legend! program works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander senior secondary students, supporting and mentoring them to complete year 12 and establish clear post-school career pathways.

But it was participants in another of the Cowboys’ community programs that were the real centre of attention at the breakfast celebration.

Serving guests at the breakfast and later receiving certificates of achievement were 26 local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers participating in the club’s Dream, Believe, Achieve hospitality training and employment program.

Funded under the Queensland Government’s Indigenous VET Partnerships program and conducted in association with registered training organisation Allara Learning, the Dream, Believe, Achieve program is providing participants with training towards a Certificate III in Hospitality and assistance in gaining work experience and jobs with local employers.

“After serving the 600-plus guests at the Cowboys Charity Ball at The Ville Resort-Casino on the weekend as part of their work experience and training all week, the group have backed up to provide the breakfast service to all of the guests who have come along to celebrate Reconciliation Week with the Cowboys,” Cowboys Dream, Believe, Achieve mentor Marian Malua said.