For 17-year-old secondary school graduate Nina Dunne, an introduction to the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys' Learn Earn Legend! program while in school made all the difference in securing a job.
The former Heatley Secondary College student is one of a number of recent success stories to come from Learn Earn Legend!, which honours the Cowboys' ongoing commitment to closing the gap in Indigenous education and employment outcomes.
The Learn Earn Legend! program provides 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.
"Without LEL I wouldn't be starting a new job," Nina said, as she reflected on her participation with program mentor Alby Reuben.
A key component in the program’s success is the tailored mentor support available to each participating student, which Nina says was key to her success.
“The most beneficial part of the program would have been the mentor support and the work opportunities because it’s not easy knowing what to do after school, but with their [mentor] help, it was way better than expected,” she said.
“They would always help by checking up on you, making sure you had everything for your job application and job interviews, which was a big help through the transition.”
Cowboys Community Foundation director Fiona Pelling said the program model was demonstrating its effectiveness on a regular basis, with students’ confidence blossoming thanks to the established support network.
“Students all want to make the transition from school to work or further study but some just need a little guidance along the way, and that’s where our mentors come in, providing direction and options to help students achieve success,” Ms Pelling said.
Funded by the Australian Government, Learn Earn Legend! taps into an extensive network of corporate and education partners to assist students to establish their career pathways, become work-ready and improve the school-to-work transition.
For more information, visit cowboysfoundation.org.au.