EDITORIAL: Border teens training hard
YOUNG men who have never been interested in education yesterday found themselves driving forklifts as a step towards a professional qualification.
It was part of a program Victorian Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall launched at Wodonga TAFE that gives young people who have been in state care the chance to study at no cost.
Those involved are studying for their Certificate II in warehousing.
Jake Macklan, 19, said he had left school in year 9, mostly because he had struggled to sit in class all day and had never expected to study for a qualification after that.
“I found it hard to pay attention and got in trouble a lot at school,” he said.
He said without the help of Junction Support Services, he would not now have the opportunity to be part of the Young People Transitioning from Care program.
“I was not motivated to learn but received a talk on what was going on and it sounded fun,” he said.
“It’s a great program that helps us for the near future.”
Mr Macklan said he had not been a reader but that was now a priority for his studies.
Mr Hall said the program ensured the youth could look forward to a stable future.
“Not many of them could pursue these types of education if it cost them money,” he said.
Mr Hall said 70 young people had enrolled in the program across the state, with 20 of those registered with Wodonga TAFE.
“Wodonga is pro-actively making the program known,” he said.
“It doesn’t reflect on make-up but it shows the institution is exploring all opportunities and making them known.”
Junction Support Service worker Katharine Hodgens said most of those involved in the program had issues related to drugs and alcohol, behaviour and homelessness.
Ms Hodgens said the program motivated them to do something positive in their life.
“Without the program they’d probably be making poor decisions,” she said.