Beyond the Broncos Mentoring Program
Thursday, 21 February 2019
Justin Hodges, Scott Prince and Jharal Yow Yeh are names you may have heard roared in Rugby League matches throughout Australia. But you mightn't know that they are also ambassadors for the Beyond the Broncos Mentoring Program. This program, which is also supported by the Australian government, aims to improve school attendance rates and year 12 attainment rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in eight high schools across Brisbane. Improving educational outcomes will lead to greater achievements in their education and offer increased opportunities for their future careers.
A dedicated team of Broncos Indigenous staff provide one-on-one mentoring support, encouragement and motivation for students to achieve maximum school attendance, effort and behaviour and to complete year 12. This year, the program supports approximately 250 students in years 10 to 12. For example, at one of the most disadvantaged schools in which the program operates, the attendance rate for Indigenous students has improved from 73 per cent to more than 90 per cent.
The Broncos also offer a girls academy, which values the vital role that young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women play in influencing the next generation and provides culturally based support for these future leaders to succeed at school and beyond. Forty-two per cent of the 637 enrolments in this part of the program have a 90 per cent attendance rate. This program would not be the success it is today without the dedication and passion of the mentors and support staff. With 29 staff, 25 of whom are Indigenous, and more than 32,000 hours of mentoring, it is, in my opinion, worthy to recognise the tremendous input they have to the success of each and every student.
Since 2010, there have been more than 3,000 Indigenous youths supported through weekly mentoring across Queensland. Features of the Beyond the Broncos program include: weekly in-school mentoring and support from the Brisbane Broncos support officers; semester challenges and rewards for attendance, effort, behaviour and achievement; group presentations on topics including culture, lifestyle and careers; support for completing year 12 and developing career pathway plans; and exclusive access to Brisbane Broncos staff, players, facilities and events.
I was recently delighted to attend and join with participating students at Mitchelton State High School. I believe that this program is vital in leading the way to closing the gap, and it was encouraging to see the enthusiasm students had during the activities. The Broncos' on-field impact might be felt by opposing players, but the profound impact they have on the enrichment and improvement of Indigenous students' lives is immense. Congratulations to everyone who's involved, and I look forward to attending your future graduation!