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North Queensland Toyota Cowboys Learn Earn Legend! program graduate Sarbi Barker has opened the doors of opportunity after taking up a position as a trainee health worker on Palm Island.

Sarbi started with the program in 2013 as a year 11 Pimlico State High student excited about the experiences it had to offer.

“It [program] has opened up so many opportunities for me that I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced,” he said.

“This year I was one of forty 18-25-year olds chosen to participate in the Queensland Indigenous Youth program in Brisbane – it was amazing and I was given the chance to attend because of the support I received through this program.”

Sarbi in the State Senate for the Queensland Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (2017)

Cowboys Learn Earn Legend! aims to provide Indigenous students enrolled in years 11 and 12 at participating North Queensland schools with the support they need to complete their secondary education and move into further study, training or employment.

“I started out wanting to become a personal trainer, but have moved through a few industries to find a passion in health, and helping Indigenous people through their health issues.

“Since starting in my new role at Joyce Palmer Health Service, I’ve decided that I want to continue studying to eventually specialise in mental health.”

Sarbi presenting his debate at the Queensland Indigenous Youth Leadership Program

Learn, Earn, Legend! provides mentoring and support to participants, with a view to increasing employment rates and prospects of Indigenous Australians, contributing to the commitment of the Australian Government to halve the gap between the employment of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within the decade.

After successfully moving from work placements to a full-time role, Sarbi now attends various schools in a mentor capacity himself, sharing positive messages with students looking to enter the program.

“I head along to have a yarn with them about the program, and the opportunities I’ve had. Most of them take something from it, and ask questions.

“The program boosted my self-confidence, and helped me with so many skills to get better job outcomes for my future, so I'm happy to share my story with them.”

Sarbi's achievements:

  • Queensland Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (2017)
  • Propellor Project at Unleashed Festival (2015)
  • National Leaders Summit (2015)
  • National Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (2014)
  • Co-founder of the ATI Project: Aspire To Inspire campaign (2014)

Funded by the Australian Government and supported by the National Rugby League, the Cowboys use their expansive corporate network and education partners to assist students in establishing their career pathways, become work-ready and improve the school-to-work transition.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.