Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has today announced more than $500,000 in NSW Government support over the next two years for the highly regarded BackTrack Youthworks organisation, based in Armidale.
Visiting the BackTrack Armidale shed this morning, Mr Marshall said the funding was being provided through the government’s $8.9 million Links to Learning Program, which aimed to support not-for-profit community organisations to work with schools to help every student make the most of their educational opportunities by completing school.
“Through this funding BackTrack will be able to continue to give these students a better foundation for life by strengthening their educational outcomes and keeping them actively engaged in learning,” Mr Marshall said.
“This support will also allow BackTrack to expand its programs to include more students, male and female, from Armidale and the surrounding district’s schools.”
BackTrack will engage with students from Armidale High School, Duval High School (Armidale), Uralla Central School, Walcha Central School, Guyra Central School and Drummond Memorial Public School (Armidale).
“Each of the schools has worked closely with BackTrack to develop projects that specifically meet the needs of their students,” Mr Marshall said.
“Those students identified as being at risk of not completing school will be targeted and BackTrack will seek to reconnect them with education. The work prospects of young people are greatly improved by completing school.
“Students will be provided with learning opportunities aimed at improving their education, employment and life skills.
“BackTrack is an outstanding organisation doing amazing things to turn hundreds of young people’s lives around and I’m delighted that this government support will allow Bernie Shakeshaft and his team to continue its great work and engage with even more young people across our region.”
In July this year Mr Marshall announced $63,000 from the NSW Department of Education and Communities for a pilot program involving BackTrack and the region’s schools.
“The overwhelming success of this pilot has paved the way for this large amount of funding to be secured,” he said.
“BackTrack and the schools have created education plans for identified students that combine vocational courses, work education, work studies and literacy and numeracy enrichment.
“This expanded initiative also includes the key elements of mentoring, personal development and case management.
“It will nurture even more local students through this important stage of education and in doing so make a huge difference in their life opportunities.”
Photo: BackTrack students introduced their kelpie pups to Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall. From left are Zac Craig, Jason Naylor, Phillip Pickford, Haydon Bishop, Om Gillies, Adam Marshall, Nathan Bliss, Cody Lockwood, Marshall Irwin, Flynn Christie, Jordan Kelly and Michael Cutmore.