Rel Futures Foundation - Real Skills, Real Futures Program

Real skills, real futures

As reported in the Port Stephens Examiner – Article by Anna Wolf

3 Nov 2016, 11:58 a.m.

The program that aims to provide youth with real future prospects is kicking goals of its own this year after securing more than $40,000 in state government funding.

Real Futures foundation has partnered with State Training Services, Tomaree Community College, Nelson Bay PCYC and the wider business community to deliver the Skill-IT program.

It aims to provide 13 teens who are at risk of dropping out of school, with trades and qualifications to help gain employment. The students are matched with business in the Port community where they get to put their new found skills to practice.

The 3 month program, which is still running, has already had success with students gaining vocational skills and even employment.

Clay Letherbarrow, 16, of Tomaree High, was one of the students to take part in the program this year. He was placed at Little Beach Boathouse and has since secured himself casual work. According to marketing manager Marian Sampson, it’s part of the “earn or learn” ethos that drives Real Futures and the businesses that support it.

“Paid employment is the best possible outcome from our perspective,” Ms Sampson said.

“Paid employment is the best possible outcome from our perspective. Otherwise what would Clay be doing if he wasn’t in the Skill-IT program and working? – Marian Sampson, Real Futures”

“Otherwise what would Clay be doing if he wasn’t in the Skill-IT program and working?

“Would he be skipping school or not enjoying life?”

Boathouse owner Alicia Cameron said that working as a kitchen hand had career prospects of its own.

“We’ve had three young people that started in the kitchen and gained apprenticeships with us,” she said.

And even Clay can see the benefits of the program, having gained his first aid and safe food handling certificates among other qualifications.

“When I first heard about it I thought it was a good idea,” he said.

“And it’s just got better from there.

“When I turn 18 I want to get my RSA and RCG and travel the world.”

Real Futures and the Skill-IT program are currently looking for the support of more business in the Port Stephens Community. To get involved or for more information visit

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