After graduating high school and finding employment Aleontay Bann is encouraging other Indigenous youth to take their education seriously.
Aleontay is in her third year as a participant in the Learn, Earn, Legend! (LEL) program, which is funded by the Australian Government, and operated by the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys.
She first became involved in Learn, Earn, Legend! as a Grade 11 high school student and was provided with a mentor through the program.
"My school attendance wasn't really good, so when I came into the LEL program my mentor motivated me to show up to school every day."
Mentors assist students according to individual needs, which may include establishing career pathways, becoming work ready and improving the school-to-work transition.
As a Learn, Earn, Legend! participant Aleontay was guided by her mentor in the transition from high school.
"My mentor was always there for me and helped me to find what I wanted to do as a career."
This year Learn, Earn, Legend! has 93% of its participants engaged in employment or training after they graduated from high school.
Aleontay was employed at Cowboys Leagues Club in Townsville after she enrolled to study for a nationally recognized certificate in the Cowboys training and employment program Dream, Believe, Achieve (DBA).
She said that it's important for Indigenous youth to see the results that education can produce, such as a certificate after completing a course.
"It really shows that all of the hard work really pays off and that you can achieve anything."
"Especially when some Indigenous youth, like myself, lack that motivation of going to school every day and don't think it worthy – try asking yourself, 'why am I going to school every day?'".
Aleonatay applied to study for a tertiary certificate in education when she left school, however was encouraged by her mum and aunt to enroll in the Dream, Believe, Achieve program first.
"They knew I wanted a job so once I did it I was really happy because I realized that you can achieve things through it [DBA]."
Aleontay said that both the Learn, Earn Legend! and Dream, Believe, Achieve programs have helped to motivate her.
"It's really good, it's like a dream come true to have already accomplished a goal in my life."