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Spotlight on youth at CQUni Mackay's meeting of minds

Published:18 October 2018

About 70 participants – including high school students, teachers, and representatives from youth service organisations – debated and discussed three key areas: post-school education and employment, youth challenges, and the role of technology at the 2018 CQUni Mackay Indaba. Bottom: Sandy McLellan Assistant Principal (Welfare) and students from Years 10 and 11 from Holy Spirit College, Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson, Wayne Horwood (Acting CEO Whitsunday Counselling and Support Service) and CQUni Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Pierre Viljoen.

Youth Opportunities was the topic tabled at CQUniversity’s third Mackay-Whitsunday Region Indaba on October 17 at the University’s City Campus.

In line with this theme, about 70 participants – including high school students, teachers, and representatives from youth service organisations – debated and discussed three key areas: post-school education and employment, youth challenges, and the role of technology.

Indaba host and Whitsunday Mental Health Consultant, Counsellor and Trainer Wayne Horwood described the evening’s debate as “robust, proactive and very positive”.

“The opportunity for our future leaders to have the time and space to be supported in having their views and aspirations heard is critical for the future of our community,” Mr Horwood said.

“It is imperative that engagement opportunities like Indaba are supported by all levels of community to ensure our shared future successes.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Engagement, Campuses and Mackay-Whitsunday Region Professor Pierre Viljoen explained the Indaba was a national initiative that was undertaken annually in all communities where CQUni had a presence.

“Indaba is a term used to describe a gathering or meeting where people come together to address some of the problems that affect us all; where everyone has a voice; and where there is an attempt to find a common mind or story that everyone is able to tell when they leave,” Professor Viljoen said.

“Increasingly, governments and major industries are looking for whole-of-community support for projects before they back initiatives and/or commit funding to them; thus, regional collaboration such as this is integral to facilitating growth and opportunity.”

There was wide ranging discussion from all participants on the Indaba topics, including education and employment opportunities, youth challenges and impact of technology.

The students had a real desire for more information on available education and job opportunities as well as being supported to pursue their ‘passions’ and to hear form those that have gone before them.

In terms of challenges for the youth, others expectations, mental health and how to harness technology to their advantage was highlighted.

As far as technology was concerned, the students flagged that it is impacting social interaction and understanding and may even be responsible for a loss of social skills. On the up side, technology was flagged as a critical tool for access to resources and information.

Information, suggestions and proposed strategies tabled at the 2018 Mackay-Whitsunday Region Indaba are presently being collated and will be shared amongst participants. Information is also available by emailing t.kiln@cqu.edu.au