FUN LEARNING: Bowen's new mobile outreach program is being hailed a success. Front: Jackson Baird, Callum Thompson, Lizzy Short, Cordelia Flack, Lani Stiles, Hazel Williams and Jasmine Dampier. Back: Connor Wright, Thom Fox, Teeal Tanna and Liam Sawers
FUN LEARNING: Bowen's new mobile outreach program is being hailed a success. Front: Jackson Baird, Callum Thompson, Lizzy Short, Cordelia Flack, Lani Stiles, Hazel Williams and Jasmine Dampier. Back: Connor Wright, Thom Fox, Teeal Tanna and Liam Sawers

Mobile program drives learning

A MOBILE outreach service for youths not suited to mainstream education has been hailed an early success with students growing in confidence by the day.

Ten students signed up for the first semester which was rolled out in Bowen on January 29.

The program aims to help disengaged youth re-engage with education through a practical learning structure built around improving literacy, numeracy and social skills.

Thom Fox, who facilities the program with youth worker Lani Stiles said students are achieving literacy and numeracy standards equivalent to mainstream education.

"It's been very good; we've had a really high attendance from all the kids that are enrolled," he said.

"We've been able to generate a lot of ideas between their understandings of where they're at in terms of their learning and build on how we can foster their development."

Mr Fox said so far the program has been "hands on" with a focus on building life skills which will allow them to function independently down the track.

He said the goal is to teach the necessary skills to allow them to integrate into the workforce or back into mainstream education.

"A lot of the focus has been on practical activity and exploring work pathways into the workforce with some of the older kids," he said.

"With the younger kids the focus has been on how we can transition them back into mainstream schooling, whether that's through numeracy and literacy or building social and emotional capacity."

Operating from 9am until 2.30pm four days a week, an average day begins with students getting picked up form their home.

From there they go to a local supermarket to pick breakfast and lunch supplies.

Ms Stiles said students are tasked with buying, unloading and preparing the food.

"We provide all of the materials and step back," she said.

"Things as simple as going to a deli and asking for meat - some of them have never done that before so it's about making conversation with people who are strangers."

Following breakfast students undertake literacy and numeracy activities before heading outdoors to work on exercise and social habits.

"They're gaining confidence and showing a willingness to communicate with their peers," said Ms Stiles.

"Whereas when they first came in, their head was down and their headphones were in."

The program runs on a regular school calendar and will conclude at the end of the year. Mr Fox said they would continue to develop individual learning plans for each student.

"We've had a number of conversations with the students.

"There are a few who we'd like to see return to school, or go into a trade or a part time job in hospitality or aged care, and it's up to us to build those pathways," he said.


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