Turn for the better
A GEELONG teen who didn’t enjoy high school is now thriving in a full-time job after graduating top of his trade school class.
Connor Kennedy, 16, was selected for Diversitat’s Try a Trade program close to three years ago when teachers realised he was disengaged from school and at risk of dropping out.
The program, which recently won a state award, offers disengaged young people in Geelong hands-on experience providing them the opportunity to develop automotive and building construction skills in a working environment.
Sixteen of the program’s 17 graduates have secured fulltime work.
Connor, who works at Lara’s Air Radiators, said he thrived in the program because he developed close relationships with his teachers who motivated him to succeed.
“I wasn’t into school and then they put me into a program that hooked me up with this course. It was more handson and it was great,” he said.
“I mainly focused on working on cars back then and I got along really well with the teachers.
“If you respected them, they respected you.”
Students are also taught workplace health and safety principles and a variety of trades to assist them in selecting further education and training and ultimately a job.
Diversitat’s chief executive officer, Michael Martinez, said the program’s recognition at the learn local awards highlighted the difference training programs could make in a community.
“This is well overdue recog- nition for the great work we do at You Turn,” Mr Martinez said.
“We have been operating youth programs for over 20 years and You Turn is an excellent example of what we do and the care and dedication of our staff and volunteers getting real results and pathways for young people into work, training and a better life.”
Connor, who loves his fulltime job, said he would encourage any young person to give Try a Trade a go.
TOOLS FOR LIFE: Connor Kennedy has a bright future thanks to an award-winning Geelong program.