For International Day of Education, we chatted with Australian Trade College North Brisbane’s 2024 Student Ambassadors Charley Wyatt, Connor Ind, Emily Baluch and Lacey Simpson about what they are excited for this coming year and what makes a positive environment in schools.
Charley, 17, is undergoing a Certificate III in Individual Health Support, and is undergoing an apprenticeship with BallyCara Aged Care in Scarborough. Connor, 17, is undergoing a Certificate III in Carpentry through Luke Rennie Carpentry. Emily, 16, is undergoing a Certificate II in Electrotechnology and Lacey, 16, is undergoing a Certificate III in Electrotechnology, and is employed by BB Electrical Services.
What made you want to pursue a school based apprenticeship?
Charley: I was inspired to get a traineeship as I’ve always wanted to be in the healthcare industry and ATCNB was a great option for me to get a head start into my career and get that apprenticeship. I love that I can go to work and do my studies as well as completing my year twelve certificate. It’s got a good balance of work and school.
Connor: My father was a carpenter when he was younger and he’s moved on to bigger buildings and stuff now, but I think that probably watching him do work around the house and stuff definitely inspired me to sort of pursue the same sort of trade. I actually heard about ATCNB from a former student who came here about five years ago, and he said it was the best thing and changed his life. That definitely swayed me a little bit. I came here and it’s just been like an awesome environment the whole time. It also appealed to me as I’m able to get my QCE in case I want to have a career change in the future that involves my QCE. It’s like really good opportunity for me because it lets me get a few extra certs while also taking my trade. Eventually the police is in the back of my mind so it’s good that I can get my QC at the same time.
Emily: I’d say for me, I didn’t really enjoy school like the bookwork side of things. Coming to ATCNB was really good. I could do like prep like my electrode two days a week and then do school three days a week. So I just made school more enjoyable and actually want to come to school.
Lacey: I always have a hard time sitting still in class so I feel like it’s not a flexi school but it’s more flexible for everyone and it suited me a lot and I’ve always liked working so I’ve had a job since I was 13 so it’s good and I can finish Year 12 and get a trade and if I don’t want to continue doing my trade after I’m qualified. I can still go to University or TAFE or something with that backup that I’ve completed a trade.
What industries do you want to see yourself working after ATCNB?
Charley: After I’ve completed year twelve at ATCNB, I hope to be working in a hospital in a few years’ time. I’d like to be a registered nurse and potentially getting into the injectable side and starting my own business which having that cert in business will be able to help me.
Connor: Originally I had plans of starting my own carpentry company, but I know some people that are police officers and they’ve told me the awesome lifestyle they have. Obviously they run into some poor encounters, but if I can eventually finish my trade and then see what I want to do. I’ve got those few different options. So it’ll either be starting a company in carpentry or joining the police force and helping serve my country.
Emily: Once I finish year twelve. I really want to go to the mines because my dad’s the mine at the moment and I want to start my apprenticeship in the mines and work away from home basically. I’m too sure yet what I feel like doing in the mine but the underground work would be pretty fun, but it depends on they want me to do as an apprentice, I guess.
Lacey: I would eventually like to be a site supervisor and someone who organises all the jobs or trains apprentices and I really like working on big job sites.
What are you excited for this year? What are some of your education goals and wishes?
Charley: One of my education goals is to just have a good relationship with people to help encourage me to get my work done on time and achieve the best goals I possibly can and graduate with good grades and a good relationship with everyone in the school, teachers, peers, other students.
Connor: Yeah. I feel like all of us as leaders sort of have a similar mindset and feel like as a team we’ll be able to make a difference. But my definite goal is to just make a different towards the school and sort of leave everyone with a part of our journey. I feel like making an impact to everyone won’t just empower them, but it’ll also mentally empower us.
Emily: My personal goal is to get really good grades. This is our last year and I’m challenging myself with doing mainstream math.
Lacey: I want to keep on top of my grades and have good effort, behaviour and grade, and I wish for that when we all leave and the next lot of students come in and the new student ambassadors that they’re grateful for the legacy that we left behind. We’re all on top of getting more sport and participation and communication with everyone and building a better bond. I just hope that we’re able to achieve that this year and then it benefits next year students to come.
With international Day of education this week, what does education mean to you guys?
Charley: To me, having a positive education means having good relationships with everyone surrounding you, having a good relationship with teachers and students. It really helps get the work done in a positive environment and everyone’s encouraging each other to get the job done or just all supporting each other as one big family.
Connor: I think positive learning to me is having those relationships with a teacher that will carry on throughout your years. I know from the start of my schooling when I lived up north, there’s one teacher in particular I always remember and then when I moved down, same thing in my primary school. I’ve been to two different high schools now, and there’s those teachers at every school that are there with you every step of the journey. I feel like having those positive role models that are there to sort of guide you down your path and if you want to change that path, they’ll sort of help you figure it out.
Emily: I would say like having a purpose to just come to school. I feel like coming to school and it being fun makes education way better because you actually want to come to school.
Lacey: Probably just feeling understood and feeling like my needs are met. I can’t sit there all day at the desk because I find it really hard or I can’t be on a computer too long. I feel like just the connection and having the teachers understanding and having that flexibility is really important.
How important is education for individuals and communities?
Charley: I feel as though education is very important because without it, we most likely wouldn’t have those jobs or be able to do certain things without certain knowledge. Without education, who knows where a lot of people would be.
Connor: I think every individual takes different steps when it comes to learning. I know, me personally, I hate sitting in a classroom all day. But over the years, I’ve learnt not everything’s about fun and games. Your learning can include that fun, but when it comes down to it, the learning that we’re getting, it’s going to push us further towards our career paths and how it’ll change the map of our careers. I feel like it’s really important to get a good career early on. Good education early on to sort of help us map everything together.
Emily: I think education is really important to most people because it really sets them up for their future. How you do well at school really depends on how your future is going to go most of the time.
Lacey: I feel like education for each individual person is like your own world and how hard you work and how much effort you put in is how much easier it’s going to be for your world to keep spinning without you putting in so much effort all the time. I feel like if you don’t help yourself in the start, you’re just going to be pushing and pushing every day and get the outcome that you want or that you deserve. The effort you put in is what you get out of it.
This year's theme for international Day of education, it's learning for lasting peace. So what do you think is needed for a safe and inclusive environment in schools for students?
Charley: Teachers. I believe having good teachers really encourages students to have good teeth, I suppose within a school and everyone can help each other, support each other with positive vibes.
Connor: Yeah, I feel like it starts with the teachers, but they can learn to share kindness to other people as well. And if people can, other students can adopt that kindness and positivity, they’ll be more likely to also share it and it sort of just turns into a big spider web where everyone’s connected and everyone’s filled with positivity.
Emily: Kind of like what Charley and Connor said, kind of like our parents here at school, not only are they teaching us, but they’re looking after us. I feel like if they look out for us, then see if we’re upset or if we’re not okay, they really step up and look after us. It’ll make school and education better.
Lacey: Probably like the connection that everyone has with each other. Like the students have a really good connection with each other and then back to what everyone else has said. The connection with the teachers is very, very strong, which benefits everyone in their own ways, because I feel like everyone is understood by at least some one teacher in the school. So I feel like it helps a lot.
How does ATCNB provide a safe and inclusive environment?
Charley: I strongly believe ATCNB does have a positive environment. Teachers always talk to us like we’re people, not students, if that makes sense. If we respect them and they respect us, it’s not if we don’t respect them, they’re not going to respect us. But you definitely see how the difference is you respect them. It goes both ways.
Connor: It’s for sure like a two way street between teachers and students and it’s like any relationship outside of school should be but brought inside school. I know I can sit down with any of my teachers and just have a good chat. And if I ran into them in public, if we really wanted to in the future, sit down, have a coffee and probably have a half an hour chat, and it would be just like a normal chat to anyone that hasn’t taught me before. It’s definitely like we’re respected on the same level as everyone else. We’re not looked down upon just because we’re younger.
Emily: ATCNB has probably been the tiniest school I’ve been to, I’ve been to really big schools before, so being at assemblies and seeing all the teachers there is really good. Especially in my old school, there was like two teachers. Like, every day I’d see a new teacher that I’d never seen before. But at ATCNB all the teachers know everyone.
Lacey: I feel like everyone’s just like a family as cheesy as that sounds.
In your own opinion, what measures do you think schools should take to ensure more students from all walks of life have equal opportunities?
Charley: I’d have to say just encourage them. I know at my previous school, teachers did not care. They were there to teach you, not help you and encourage you to do something and achieve your goals. They wanted you to get what their job was, so they wanted it done. I feel like teachers need to help encourage, to push their students to achieve their goals, rather than grades.
Connor: At my previous school, I feel like I was definitely not as mature as I am here. I know a lot of people, if I see them from my old school, definitely have an image of me that is not me anymore, not that I was a bad student or anything, but I think that also reflected on towards the teachers. The teachers definitely have a picture of you that they can’t let go. But coming to the trade college, it’s like if you make a mistake, they’re always going to be there to encourage you, to push you back, and they’re like that to every student, no matter if they’ve made a mistake or done something that’s been disruptive towards a class, by the end of the class, the teacher’s most likely forgotten about it already and everyone’s back on track because they’ve got that structure of setting everyone back to where they’re going to be most comfortable with learning.
Emily: I probably say a lot of the time, teachers don’t know what’s going on at home, so some kids will be naughty in class or be quiet in class or anything. I feel like teachers need to remember that not everyone has the best home life. We need to take into account that it’s going to affect how much effort someone puts into their work and teachers just need to push everyone to try their best and put in the best effort.
Lacey: Yeah, probably just like giving everyone the same amount of tension and encouraging everyone, not just like the kids that are doing well or stepping up a bit, the kids that are falling behind. I know at my older school, not everyone’s getting encouraged, they’re just like, oh yeah, that’s what happens with them. They don’t give everyone the same opportunity or encourage everyone on the same level that they do.
Anything else you guys would like to add?
Lacey: Feel like just not being mates with your teacher, but having good relationship with your teachers and even not just the teachers, like the students and the office people, like everyone that puts in effort and helps the school run together. Everyone just needs to work together. It’s really hard when it’s very diverse and it’s just like teachers versus students, not everyone together.
ATCNB Head of Student Engagement and Guidance Officer Leah Pollock-Grant: It’s like we’re all on the same team. The team is the students. That’s kind of how we approach things in that we always have the students back and we always operate in their best interest. And it’s also like every student at our college has a strength and so it’s our responsibility to highlight that strength and then give them an opportunity to use it. So for us as staff, we fully believe in that we’re one team and that we always operate in the best interest of the kids.
Lacey: I feel like at our school, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like there is no competition between anyone. I feel like no one’s trying to, oh, I need to be this or beat that person. There’s no competition. Everyone just is in their own lane.
Connor: At the end of the day, everyone here has got their own different pathway that they want to choose for so many different trades and career paths. And even if they’re not, by the end of year twelve wanting to go into a specific trade as a career, everyone’s sort of got that same. It’s almost like a war path. Like everyone just sees where they want to go and they don’t have tunnel vision, but they know exactly the path they need to choose to follow towards where they want to go. And the teeth just definitely highlight those pathways a lot better for us.
Australian Trade College North Brisbane Principal Brett Kavanagh on International Day for Education
Embracing the 2024 International Day of Education theme, “It’s Learning for Lasting Peace,” ATCNB underscores the profound value of lifelong learning. Our school’s ethos revolves around recognising and nurturing the inherent talents of each student. The expertise of our teaching, trade training, and industry support staff ensures that every student finds their unique talent. Embedded in our school motto, ‘Nail the Connection,’ which embodies Courage, Engagement, and Gratitude, we inspire students to make a positive impact in the lives of those around them. ATCNB’s senior secondary school programs, featuring school-based apprenticeships, not only provide valuable learning experiences but also open doors to successful full-time employment and tertiary study options. This holistic educational approach equips our school community to collectively shape a vibrant future, fostering lasting peace through continuous learning and meaningful contributions.