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Titans playmaker Tyrone Roberts says he understands the impact of the NRL’s School To Work program, and appreciates the hard work of the students within it because he once walked in their shoes.

Roberts was on-hand to congratulate this year’s Gold Coast graduates of the NRL’s School To Work program, who celebrated the end of the year at the Titans High Performance Centre at Parkwood.

NRL School to Work is an education and employment program.

The NRL utilises the positive profile of the game of Rugby League to support young Indigenous Australians with work experience, mentoring and leadership opportunities to ensure they successfully complete school and transition into further study, training or meaningful employment.

More than 130 students from 16 schools across the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers have graduated from the program since 2017, under the guidance of NRL School to Work Project Officer Mel Lightburn.

Roberts was at the graduation ceremony with fellow Titans Ash Taylor, Tyrone Peachey, Leilani Latu and Treymain Spry, as well as Executive Chairman Dennis Watt, to present the students with their certificates.

Titans help students go from School to Work

Roberts said the success of the program was not just in academic performances, but in helping the students find their identity.

“Mel does a great job with the kids, helping them with their transition,” Roberts said. “I was one of them – I wanted to go through to Year 12, and I ended up doing that.

“But it is hard for the kids. To have that support in school (is important) and that is what Mel does – she creates that bond between the students and the teachers.

”I was in their shoes as well. I am just happy to give back and make sure that they are not alone, and they can be proud of who they are and strive for better.

“They have got to be proud of who they are, and don’t be ashamed or be shy – speak up, and be proud of who they are. If they can do that, they can speak up and be more confident in themselves to do stuff after school.”