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Tuesday, 7 October 2003
Page: 20714


Mr LLOYD (9:15 PM) —On 25 September this year I had the privilege and pleasure of attending the graduation service for 44 graduates in the literacy and numeracy program and eight POEM students. This is an example of some of the work that the federal government is doing in ensuring that many of our young people who may never have the opportunity to go to university do have the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions, improve their literacy and numeracy and progress through education, although not in the mainstream and not in a way that traditionally may have suited them.

In particular, the Partnership Outreach Education Model, or POEM, has been an outstanding success. The Commonwealth government has made available more than $4 million over 2002 and 2003 to fund 21 of these partnership outreach models. They target young people aged 13 to 19 who are disconnected from mainstream schooling and possibly from their families and community. Obviously, in many ways once they have dropped out of education these young people would find it very difficult to get back into society and get a job and fulfil many of their ambitions. In certain circumstances, the POEM projects might also provide assistance to these young people who have had a tenuous connection to school.

It was a great celebration of these graduates and not only those in the literacy and numeracy program but, as I said, the students from the POEM graduation. I was certainly greatly impressed by two of the speeches made by the graduates. As all honourable members and people in the community would know, public speaking is one of the most difficult things for people to do, particularly young people. I was so impressed with the two speeches that these young people gave that I would like to read them into Hansard this evening. The first speech was by Hannah. She said:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been enrolled in P.O.E.M since the beginning of the course and I have recently completed my Year 10 Certificate, though I don't think I would be here now if I had not received the endless support and encouragement that Renay, Sean, Linda and Melanie showered me with. Every time I felt down, or had even the slightest problem they were always by my side, comforting and counselling me until I felt better. On behalf of myself and the students enrolled at P.O.E.M I would like to thank the staff for all the tight spots they've pulled us out of and for the countless times they have put up with the many unexpected problems that arise. Renay, Sean, Melanie and Linda are more than just our teachers, but have also become our close friends, who we know are always there to listen and guide us as best they can. To leave Workwise and go out into the world will be difficult after all this time, but we will always have our memories to keep us going. A memorable time was when we decided to write and record a group song. The laughs and arguments we shared just made the time more enjoyable and there is no way we could ever have had this much fun in a learning environment at school. There needs to be more P.O.E.M programs that provide the same support that we received here at P.O.E.M at Ettalong. I again would like to thank the staff and congratulate all the students that have achieved this magnificent outcome. Thank you Renay, Sean, Linda and Melanie.

The second speech was by Jessica. She said:

Good Morning Ladies, Gentlemen, Boys and Girls. My name is Jessica and I have been involved as a P.O.E.M student since the start of this year. I initially started studying to attain my CGEA level II. Though after a short time of studying, my teachers became aware of my independent study routine and enthusiasm to work. They also noticed that my academic levels were of a very high standard, which enabled them to see I was capable to attain my CGEA level III. When Renay informed me of the good news, I was ecstatic. Me being 15 at the time and being able to attain my CGEA level III was overwhelming. Finally now after 3 terms of hard work and many late nights, I have achieved what I came here to do. Knowing that I have worked to achieve such a high goal for myself and actually completing it makes me proud, and glad to say so. The reason why I attended P.O.E.M was because I couldn't make it through mainstream education for many reasons. Many of the other P.O.E.M students had many problems as well. In the time that I have been attending P.O.E.M, there have been a few people come and go. Each of those students that I had the great pleasure to meet, have been such a great, happy and cheerful bunch. They are very understanding and supportive ...

Time prevents me completing that speech, but it really does show that this is a great program the government has initiated. (Time expired)