Thirteen Kimberley youths have successfully completed a range of qualifications and activities through a vocational education program that teaches life and workforce skills in an alternative learning space. Participants from the Maindim Yangbala (minding young fella) program, in collaboration between The Skill Engineer and Broome Youth and Families Hub, celebrated their achievements at a graduation ceremony on December 15. Students were commended by staff and guests, such as Kimberley MLA Divina D’Anna, for their hard work and efforts in attaining various qualifications and completing a range of activities, including building a mobility access ramp for a Broome local. Throughout the program, students earned their white card and first aid certificate while also having the opportunity to participate in two on-country camps and go on industry visits to North Regional TAFE’s Jobs and Skills Centre and the Aboriginal Pastoral Academy. “By combining skill development, mentorship, cultural integration and community engagement, this initiative has shown it can empower young individuals, enabling them to break the cycle of disengagement, realise their full potential and become leaders in their community,” said The Skill Engineer chief executive Maggie MacFie. At the ceremony, students were able to showcase their electric scooters they built from scratch using skills they learned throughout the program, such as welding, using a grinder and an oxy torch. Broome Youth and Families Hub chief executive Mel Phillips said the hands-on construction of the electric scooters not only provided the students with a reliable mode of transportation for training or employment but also imparted valuable trade skills, developed a profound sense of responsibility and instilled a “genuine sense of accomplishment”. “The graduation success is a testament to the positive influence such programs can exert on the lives of at-risk youth who have been disengaged from mainstream schooling for an extended period,” she said.