Secondary navigation

Jaleel's passion kickstarting change in Gladstone community

Jaleel's passion kickstarting change in Gladstone community

Published:18 December 2017

Gladstone apprentice Jaleel Donald is looking forward to growing his impact on his community.

He’s been planning his trade career path since grade 8, but Gladstone electrical apprentice Jaleel Donald has big plans for making an impact on his community, too.

“As soon as I started high school, I did work experience with my cousin in refrigeration – ever since, I wanted to be an electrician, and I selected all my classes around that, and set a pathway for myself,” he explained.

He secured his apprenticeship in grade 11 – and said the support of his parents, who both worked in Gladstone’s big industry, was important.

“It was a big decision, and hard to leave friends behind and focus on a career, but they were excited for me.”

Despite challenges with his first employer, 16-year-old Jaleel stuck it out for a few months, before an apprenticeship support agency found him work experience with Corfields Electrical Contractors.

“They said it was just for the experience, there was no apprenticeship, but I was really determined to prove myself – and at the end, they said they’d take me on.”

Jaleel said the attraction of a social life often distracted high school students from focusing on career.

But as a proud member of the Darumbal people, Jaleel wanted to set an example for other young people, and get a head-start on his career.

The sport enthusiast also plays soccer, recently attending trials for the National Indigenous Squad in Nowra, and is a passionate juniors coach.

“It’s unbelievable going to trials – I learnt so much and saw so much talent, it makes me realise what’s possible for the juniors I coach!” he said.

“I love watching the kids progress and get better and better each training session, and giving back to the soccer community,” he said.

As well as working and sport, Jaleel is completing his trade training with CQUniversity, and has just joined the Gladstone Youth Council.

“Kids my age are coming out of school with no real job skills, and no experience – so through council I’ve talked to a local principal, and we’re looking at projects to have high school electives like first aid, getting your Construction Induction White Card and your Working with Children Blue Card, to give a boost for the job market,” he explained.

“Especially for Indigenous kids – it’s in our culture that we’re hard working people, but getting the support to make that first step, it would help so much.”

Jaleel hopes his diverse experience will help him be a leader in his Indigenous community, but he’s got a message for all young people, too.

“Everywhere we go, everyone has their phones out, they live their life online – and its killing our creativity, and understanding what the world really is,” he said.

“It’s the best thing in the world to wake up in the morning and still be alive! So if everyone could appreciate their lives and their situation a bit more, we’d all be more grateful and giving and happy – and be prepared to help other people too.”

In 2018, Jaleel is set to feature in a Be Magazine article about Generation Z, and the babies of Y2K turning 18. Keep an eye out for Be Magazine on your campus to get the full story.