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Graduates recognised for achievements

Bright, bubbly, and full of life, Marnee McIvor has never been short of confidence – and thanks to the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys Dream, Believe, Achieve program she’s channeling that energy toward a better career.

She is one of 71 fully trained, job-ready hospitality students who have celebrated their life-changing journey to meaningful employment opportunities at Friday’s graduation ceremony.

The event brought together graduating students from all 2021 cohorts, with students from each cohort using their new-found confidence to share their personal journeys on stage.

Graduates completed the intensive ten-week course across four intakes in 2021, including in-class training, work experience and one-on-one mentoring.

The graduation was held at NRL Cowboys House.
The graduation was held at NRL Cowboys House.

For Marnee, it was the one-on-one support and learning guidance of program mentors that led to her success and employment at the Cowboys Leagues Club.

“I enjoyed how the mentors and trainers constantly reminded us of what we can achieve in a short timeframe,” she said.

“They have maintained consistent reassurance and have allowed me to grow independently as a person while pushing us to succeed in everything we do.

Marnee McIvor.
Marnee McIvor.

“I really enjoyed the work placement; I feel as if I was a perfect fit and that we are all one big family.

“Although I am a confident person, I feel as if I am now on the right track to a better life for me and my future.”

Graduating students received their nationally-recognised Certificate III in Hospitality at a COVID-safe event on Friday, with 52 of the graduates (73.23%) having already secured ongoing paid employment with the program’s 14 local industry partners.

The program is proudly funded and supported by the Queensland Government through its Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.

The event rounds out a successful year for the Dream, Believe, Achieve program which was named Community Training Initiative of the Year for a second time at the North Queensland regional finals of the 2021 Queensland Training Awards.

Dream, Believe, Achieve has a strong history of delivering industry-recognised qualifications to unemployed and disadvantaged North Queenslanders, providing mentoring support to assist students in finishing their studies and building a better future.

The program has played a key-role in changing the lives of hundreds of North Queenslanders since it was established in 2015.

The program delivered 69 graduates in 2018 and 80 graduates in 2019 across six intakes, while in a COVID-disrupted 2020 the program delivered 47 graduates.

Cowboys Community and Government Relations Officer Fiona Pelling said the program and its participants have displayed incredible resilience over the past two years.

“We are thrilled to have produced so many graduates who are not only fully-qualified but meaningfully employed, helping boost the local hospitality industry that is struggling for staff in these challenging times,” she said.

“Our graduation ceremonies are an important opportunity to recognise those students who have put in the hard yards to secure a better future for themselves and acknowledge our industry partners who offer vital opportunities to kick-starting careers.

Graduate Sharon Ross shared her journey from addiction to graduation.
Graduate Sharon Ross shared her journey from addiction to graduation.

“We’re proud to see so many of our students at work, boosting the local hospitality industry and becoming financially independent.

“We see massive personal growth in all of our students and are now looking forward to helping more students on their path to a new career and a better life in 2022.”

The Cowboys have teamed up with Registered Training Organisation Allara Learning to deliver the nationally recognised SIT30616 Certificate III in Hospitality, giving graduates the skills and knowledge to work in a variety of hospitality settings.

Graduate Rhian Wilson shared his story from couch surfer to graduate.
Graduate Rhian Wilson shared his story from couch surfer to graduate.

Trainers from Allara Learning deliver a mix of classroom-based and hands-on instruction to students in addition to mentoring and learning guidance through dedicated Cowboys mentors.

Allara Learning General Manager of Education James Richards said the partnership reflects both organisations’ desire to build positive futures for North Queenslanders.

“In 2021, a year filled with so many challenges, 70% of our participants rose above to complete their training and move directly into employment post training,” he said.

Allara Learning General Manager of Education James Richards.
Allara Learning General Manager of Education James Richards.

“It truly is a remarkable feeling to see so many lives benefit and grow from their involvement in this program.

“This is a partnership that is forged in shared values of community, family and making a real, positive and lasting difference to the lives of the individuals we train and develop, and we are excited to continue this partnership now and into the future.”

For more information or to register for the program’s February 7 intake,

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.