Priority 2: Focus on youth and plan for success

The Queensland Government is dedicated to better supporting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders by building a ‘pipeline of opportunity’ for the future.

All young people can experience some level of vulnerability in the job market through a combination of a lower level of skills and education and/or limited experience.

Actions

Improve student transitions to further education, training and employment, through the Youth Employment Program (Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships).

Continue implementation of the Solid Pathways Program to improve the tertiary pathways, aspirations and outcomes for high performing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students (Department of Education).

Case study: Solid Pathways – STEM

Solid Pathways – STEM is an online extension program for high-achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Years 4–6, which seeks to increase participation and achievement among students in STEM. The program delivers quality learning experiences to develop the students’ STEM capabilities and nurture their scientific curiosity through critical and creative thinking.

In 2020, the Department of Education (DoE) regional offices entered into a collaborative partnership approach with the Queensland Virtual STEM Academy (QVSA) and STEM champions. Collaboration and cooperation through partnerships provides an important avenue to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ engagement in STEM and build on students’ cultural identify. This has allowed DoE to engage students in an authentic, real-world learning experience that uses the Traditional Ecological Knowledge as the basis for engaging students in STEM.

The program engages students in ways that support them to embrace and affirm cultural identity, work towards increasing achievement and instill self-belief in their academic ability in STEM. In its partnerships with QVSA, DoE regional offices and STEM champions engage students in learning experiences that spark their interest to explore the wonders of STEM and harness their passion for change and innovation.

In 2020, DoE has to date engaged 164 schools and over 560 students in the program.

Testimonial

"Over the last three weeks, I have seen a bubble of excitement every Wednesday afternoon as Sarah settles in for her session online. Sarah is always an engaged learner in class but this is different. This is about a pride I see in Sarah when she talks about what she is doing. It is an excitement when she talks about meeting new people. It is an excitement I hear when she says she is doing ‘stuff that challenges me’. Sarah is taking a first step forward into higher achievement for our Indigenous students. Her involvement in the program is placing the first brick in the bridge to help close our gap."

– Jennifer Farquhar (Principal – Tieri State School)

This case study was provided by the Department of Education.