School-Based Traineeship has Equipped her Daughter with Life Skills

School-Based Traineeship has Equipped her Daughter with Life Skills

“Her co-workers were supportive and the team at AFL SportsReady were brilliant. Now Giaan works there part-time and honestly, she loves it!”

Michelle Eggmolesse is the mum of Giaan, 16, a proud Bayali and Sassie Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman. In 2020, Giaan started a Certificate III school-based traineeship at Kmart in Gladstone, where she still works today on a part-time basis.

Michelle thought the program gave Giaan excellent life skills and she saw rapid growth in her daughter in confidence and maturity.

In this interview, Michelle talks about her perspective on the benefits of the program. 

So how did Giaan hear about the traineeship program? 

I heard about the program first, while I was working in the Indigenous support team at Toolooa High in South Gladstone, QLD. We had other trainees do the finance school-based traineeships so I knew what the program involved and the positive outcomes that could be achieved. Giaan was in year 10 at the time and thinking about pursuing an ATAR pathway in years 11 and 12 but the subjects she was looking at doing weren’t going to contribute much to her score. So, when I saw the traineeship opportunity at AFL SportsReady at Kmart, I thought WOW, this is excellent! Giaan hasn’t ever had a full-time job or any work experience so this could really develop her life skills. Plus, the traineeship would give her 4 QCE (Queensland Certificate of Education) points. 

How did she go juggling her traineeship with school? 

Giaan is fantastic at time management, so it wasn’t much of a concern. 

It’s hard work, while your friends are mucking around you need to be catching up on schoolwork, so you need to have the right attitude and level of commitment.  

I really felt the traineeship was a good test to see if Giaan would do well in university because it required the trainee to manage their school, hobbies and studies, and she did. 

What were your thoughts about the traineeship program? 

It was absolutely fabulous, from the get-go! On her first day, Giaan sat in the car and cried her eyes out because she was only 15 and had never had a job before. She was walking into a big KMART store, and it was overwhelming. But within a week, she felt settled. Her co-workers were supportive and the team at AFL SportsReady was brilliant. Now Giaan works there part-time and honestly, she loves it!   

Have you noticed a change in her? 

ABSOLUTELY! Giaan has grown in confidence; she is like a little mini-supervisor now! She is doing service desk and all kinds of things and when she gets home, she tells me she has been training people. Even her grandparents said they noticed a real change in Giaan, how confident and how mature she has become. I am super proud.  

What is Giaan thinking of doing after school? 

So, Giaan has applied and got into psychological science at CQU, but she is thinking she doesn’t know if she wants to do 3 years of full-time study. She might change her mind, she might do full-time work, but she has the Christmas holidays to think about it.  

How do you think she has been supported in her traineeship? 

Shirley her educator has been amazing! Giaan said, when I graduate, I must send Shirley a message to thank her for all her help! Shirley has nurtured her and guided her so wonderfully. Thanks to her, Giaan really enjoyed the education component.  

Giaan won the 2021 QLD Indigenous Trainee of the Year Award. That must have been a special moment. How did you feel? 

My husband and I were so pleased and proud of her. Giaan popped the award on the mantelpiece right away. It was a wonderful experience and she really deserved it.  

In your perspective what are the main benefits of a school-based traineeship? 

It gives young people real-life experience. 

They earn an income and that is great so they can work out a savings plan. This is the first time they will probably be earning this sort of money. 

The confidence and growth from when they start is inspiring. It is like they start as a child and finish as an adult. 

For us Queenslanders, the program gives trainees QCE points so if there is a subject in year 12, they are not doing well in school, then the traineeship can help them pass high school.

What advice would you give to a parent about the program? 

I would say to definitely look into it! It is a fantastic opportunity for your teenager to get real work experience and an array of skills that will benefit them throughout their life.   

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This article is part of our partnership with the National Careers Institute (NCI) to highlight the real benefits of Vocational Education and Training (VET).