With over 60 students enrolled from 14 high schools the NRL School to Work (S2W) program is here to stay on the Gold Coast.
"The NRL School to Work Program is a program that is supported by the NRL and Gold Coast Titans to encourage and support Indigenous Students in High School and help them to achieve their career pathways" explains Project Officer Mel Lightburn.
Mel works with students to build confidence and prepare them for life after school.
"The biggest thing I notice about the students that are involved in the program is their ability to think outside the square, our goal is to get them to see opportunities that they may never have realised or know of, it's getting them to think about different career pathways that they may not have thought about previously, it's about them learning about themselves and then opening up those options of what career pathways might be available to them."
"The other thing I notice is their confidence and ability to believe in themselves, we want them to start realizing that they can do it and they will be successful."
Mel also credits the integrated relationship between the Titans and the program.
"The Titans encourage and support the students while they are at school, they know the students who are in the program, the students get involved in Titan's community activities, so it's a holistic approach."
"The Titans are giving to the program and the program wants to give back to the Titans so it's that real nice community family feel - the kids love being involved in the Titan's community events, and they love getting to know the people who are there supporting them."
Paula Summers, the Indigenous Education Officer at Upper Coomera State College spoke highly of the program and of Mel.
"The NRL School to Work come into our school and help our students in setting their pathways for the future which is a really important step in life in Years 11 & 12, so when they leave school they've got an opportunity and a pathway as to which direction they're going to head."
"It gives the kids life skills, it sets them up for their future, it makes them think about what it is they want to do and most importantly Mel makes them come to the party and do the work."
Pacific Pines State High School Student Holly Summers is one of the many students enrolled in the program and experiencing success.
"The program is about connecting Indigenous students with people that can actually help them in developing their futures and career pathways and helping them out in school and also outside of school," she said.
"I've learnt how to set goals, write resumes, and have connected with some awesome people who can help me out along the way."
Helensvale State High School has been involved with the program for almost 12 months and have received great feedback from students and staff alike.
"I think the program is important because it gives the kids someone other than their parents or their school, someone that's only there to look after them," said Indigenous Student Support Officer, Jodi Rawlinson.
"One of the boys who is in Grade 12 hasn't really had much of a direction, didn't really know what he was going to do and Mel has, during the school holidays, gone and helped him do a resume, helped him apply for jobs, helped him do things that there's not anyone at home that can actually do, because some of them can't read properly, and don't really know where to go to look for these thing, so it's giving them the extra support – so the feedback has been really good, really positive."
The NRL School to Work program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet and proudly supported by the staff & players of the TFH Gold Coast Titans.
For more information on the NRL School to Work Program please contact Melissa Lightburn on 0459861451 or firstname.lastname@example.org