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With Kerrie Stanley


We think it is fair to say we have all experienced some level of grief during the past couple of months. Whether it be the missed sporting games, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, or the loss of a job or, even worse, a friend or relative. There are many in our community that are silently struggling. Uncertain of what is ahead, mourning forever lost experiences and pondering “what could’ve been.”

In the meantime, we want you all to reach out and hug your kids and take a moment to breathe and be present for them. This year has affected us all so differently and that includes our teenagers. For us parents, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, just ticking boxes, attending meetings, keeping deadlines, reopening businesses, preparing dinner, washing clothes and mowing lawns. Whilst we adults are juggling multiple situations, so too are our teens.

In a “normal world”, they must navigate schoolwork, friendships (or the lack of), relationships, boundaries, freedom, exams and extracurricular activities.

Add to that the wild card of COVID-19, and they must add to that list a sudden loss of team and representative sport, eisteddfods and musicals, socialising with friends and family, all while rapidly having to learn how to school at home.

Those students who are struggling silently, feel that they are bearing the weight of the world alone. It is so important that we as parents and carers are regularly connecting with our children, their friends and their schools, to support them in every possible way.

In the next six months, the BLA will aim to help students to find their Teenage Dream through our events.

But first, we needed to understand: what does the Teenage Dream look like for school leavers?

Here’s what some of our local students said:

“Finding a course to study that I am interested in, that pays well so that I can buy a home and have a family.” – Boy, 16yo

“Working hard to get an apprenticeship, one day become a builder and earn lots of money.” – Boy, 18

“Being successful in everything that I do.” – Girl, 17

“Become a teacher or a nurse, help future students and travel lots.” – Girl, 16

“Get a good ATAR, go to Uni to study a course that makes good money and be a good friend.” – Boy, 17

Everyone has experienced some level of emotional stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic either directly or indirectly. The BLA Team has been working tirelessly behind the scenes with local secondary schools, to ensure that the next six months is filled with positive events.

So, what is coming up for our students?

The 2020 Cairns Youth & Careers Expo is where your student needs to be to connect with their career pathway and opportunities.

Visiting Experts Coming To Cairns – These are a selection of trending successful business people who come to Cairns and share their stories with our students by visiting the schools onsite.

Brekkie with a Tradie is a new initiative we are coordinating with TAFE for students in Years 10 to 12 who are considering an apprenticeship or trade.

BDO’s Big Day Out is held on-site in BDO’s Office for students considering a career in accounting, auditing, business and finance.

The Young Leaders Breakfast is for students who are our future leaders.

The Annual DATTA Awards Presentation Night celebrates those students who excel in all things woodwork, metalwork, design and construction. Approximately 23 awards categories offer students 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards and prizes.

Annual Aspire Awards Presentation Night includes a range of subjects including Performing Arts, Accounting, Business, Health, Agriculture, Legal, History, VET, Environmental and Art. Approximately 22 awards categories offer students 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards and prizes. Encouragement awards, bursaries and prizes are also awarded to assist students with future pathways and careers.

Now that we as a country have done the right thing, it is time to slowly return to life as we knew it.

Some are questioning if life can ever return back to what it was, or has COVID changed things forever?

Once all restrictions are lifted, we believe the future can be whatever you want it to be.

If you want to hug, then hug. If you want to shake hands, then do it. If this period of time has taught. me anything, it is that life is precious, and we . .. need to embrace it with both hands.

We believe there will be a new normal and new opportunities!

We will continue together, moving forward one step at a time … albeit, socially distanced and offering air hugs. We could have never planned for this.

We hope that the trials we continue to endeavour will make our community and students, once again, more resilient.

It’s important to support your child as they navigate their secondary school years and progress to the next phase in career planning, in the industry that they have chosen. Let them know that their choices are unlimited, their dreams are achievable and that the business community of Far North Queensland has their backs.

What do you think?

Written by #TeamOasis