Awards Celebration for Students at BUSY Schools Cairns Campus

In a year that presented many challenges, 56 students completing Year 11 at the BUSY Schools’ first campus in Cairns recently celebrated a successful conclusion to 2020. Most students will return to complete Year 12 next year with two of the students moving into apprenticeship or traineeship career pathways.

Attended by the BUSY Schools Board of Directors, staff, students and their families, the awards ceremony recognised the extraordinary effort of students and staff in 2020. In addition to the trials and tribulations associated with the opening of a new school, the impacts of COVID-19 meant that many students had to adapt quickly and some were required to complete curriculum activities in shorter timeframes.

“Some of the students completed their term activities in a much shorter time, meaning they had to really buckle down to get it done, which they did. They are all winners and we’re all extremely proud of them and the efforts they have made this year,” Principal for the BUSY Schools Cairns Campus, Naomi Vucas stated.

In two groups over two days, the awards presented were:

Group 1

Perseverance Award – Shakyra Carr

Most Improved – Edwin Mooka

Diligence Award – Tahlia Walker

Resilience Award – Finn Stephens

Artist Award – Nathan Morris

Overall Achievement Award – Noah Humphries

Group 2

Perseverance Award – Duval Jones

Most Improved – Ivan Kennedy

Diligence Award – Kerri Andrews

Resilience Award – Lachlan Knowles

Artist Award – Noah Courtney

Overall Achievement Award – Kira O’Connor

An overall Principal’s Award was also awarded to Una Leona, who ended the year with an option to pursue a traineeship in business administration which she is undertaking in 2021 before returning to complete Year 12. You can read more about Una’ story here.

When asked what they liked most about the school, many students had similar answers: that the teachers really care, there were less restrictions and more support available.

Jess Plant, one of the students at the school who would like to pursue a career in hospitality with a plan to one day open her own café stated: “The teachers are more genuine and actually try to help. There is also no fees, which is great”.

Another student Ethan Knight, who has been accepted into TAFE and plans to undertake an apprenticeship in plumbing stated “There is more freedom in this school, less rules but the teachers try hard to support you”.

Lee Aitken, CEO for BUSY Schools stated “The teachers and students at the Cairns campus have had an amazing year considering everything that happened in 2020. We now know the school is a successful model for supporting disengaged students into career paths or further education. In 2021, BUSY Schools is opening our second campus in Shailer Park and we’re looking forward to offering an alternative schooling option for disengaged young people in this region”.

Jess Plant, a student at BUSY Schools Cairns Campus, would like to pursue a career in Hospitality, with the dream of one day opening her own café.

Noah Courtney (L) received the Artist Award at the recent Awards Ceremony for BUSY Schools Cairns Campus. He is pictured here with Lee Aitken, CEO for BUSY Schools.


For more information regarding BUSY Schools visit or you can contact 1300 176 472 or email

Una starts her career path, thanks to BUSY Schools

As a young mother, Una Leona had to leave school in 2019 to have her baby boy.

Determined to continue her schooling and finish her QCE, she enrolled in BUSY Schools Cairns Campus as a Year 11 student. BUSY Schools is an alternative schooling for students who have disengaged from school or struggle with the normal school system, offering a supportive environment and opportunities to explore vocational career paths.

Despite the challenges of 2020, along with looking after a newborn baby and completing her schoolwork, Una has experienced an incredible year. She recently completed her year 11 exams and was also offered two opportunities to undertake a one year traineeship in Business Administration in 2020.

“Juggling home and school has not been easy. I am just so grateful for the schools support because you don’t get that everywhere. They even looked after my son while I did my exams”, Una stated.

“It was a tough decision regarding the traineeships but I decided to take the business administration with Audio Health, as I am keen to pursue a career path that helps people. Once I have completed the year traineeship I am determined to come back and finish Year 12 as well”.

At BUSY Schools, students are encouraged and supported to find a career path that suits their passions and skills. BUSY Schools is an initiative of the BUSY Group Ltd who provide a range of employment, apprenticeship support and vocational skills development. The Cairns Campus was the first BUSY School campus to open in 2020 with a second campus opening for term 1, 2021 in Shailer Park.

Lee Aitken, CEO for BUSY Schools stated “We’re proud of Una and all she achieved in 2020 and wish her all the best in her traineeship next year. Her maturity is beyond her years and we know she will succeed in anything she puts her mind to”.

“BUSY Schools is a supportive environment for students who may struggle with the normal school system, offering a chance for them to complete their schooling while exploring vocational pathways or further study options. We’re excited to be opening our Shailer Park campus in time for Term 1 next year”, Lee further stated.

Una is keen to start her career path and is grateful for the support BUSY Schools has shown her. “I love walking into the school each day seeing all the staff who do so much for the students. I’ve had such an amazing journey, thank you to everyone who helped me through year 11”.


Una will commence a 1 year traineeship in Business Administration next year before returning to complete Year 12 at BUSY Schools.

Kira is inspired to follow a career in education

When Kira enrolled at the BUSY School Cairns Campus in Term Three, 2020 her plans were to progress into hotel management. Inspired by the teaching staff at the school and a subsequent four-day work experience, Kira soon changed her sights to a career in education.

Throughout Term Three and Four, Kira built relationships with the BUSY Schools staff and her confidence continually blossomed.  In Term Four, Kira sat with Cairns Campus Principal, Naomi Vucas, in her Year 12 planning meeting and discussed how her plans had changed and that she now wanted to move into early childhood education.

Naomi searched for training courses that would lead her in that direction and assisted her in enrolling in a Certificate II Community Services (early education).  From there, BUSY School contacted Yorkeys Knob State School to organise a block of work experience in a prep classroom to ensure that she knew more about this pathway.

Just this week, Kira spent four days in the prep classroom, nervously arriving on Monday she soon felt better after seeing a friendly BUSY staff member ready to greet her and get her started.  When the first day ended she was asked how it went.

“It was great!  I did some filing, some little jobs, some marking and working with the kids that need a little extra help.  I had so much fun.  Thank you again for setting this up,” Kira stated.

Her time at Yorkeys Knob State School has reaffirmed Kira’s decision to start her career path towards early education.  The main thing she learnt about working with young children is to ‘always start a new day as a fresh start’.

“At the end of my work experience I gave all the kids a chocolate to say thanks for having me and the reaction from them all just melted my heart.”

“I’ve always been told that I am good with kids and previously I worked in a holiday program and I really just love seeing the difference in the kids from when they start school to when they finish and seeing them develop. It’s amazing to see.”

At BUSY Schools, students are encouraged and supported to find a career path that suits their passions and skills.

“Our school is all about finding each student’s strength to guide them towards a path that they will thrive in. It is great to see Kira excited about a career in education, it is a really rewarding career path and with her enthusiasm and attitude, we’re sure she will succeed in this path”, Principal at the Cairns Campus, Naomi Vucas stated.

During her final Year 12 schooling, Kira will complete her Certificate II in Community Services and BUSY Schools will assist her to find the most suitable pathway into university.  Conversations about her best options are already in progress with the local university.

For more information regarding BUSY Schools contact 1300 176 472 or email

New Campus to Open for 2021

If you know of a student in the Logan or Brisbane regions who is struggling with traditional schooling and looking for an alternative for Year 11 or 12, BUSY Schools may be the answer.

BUSY Schools, an initiative of The BUSY Group Ltd, is set to open a second campus in Queensland on the back of their successful first year of their Cairns campus. The second campus will open in Shailer Park and be ready for Term 1, 2021.

The BUSY Group is a not for profit organisation that delivers a range of employment, apprenticeship support and skills training for job seekers throughout Queensland, and reinvests into the community through initiatives like the BUSY Schools.

In 2020, BUSY Schools launched their first campus in Cairns welcoming over 50 year 11 students from a range of backgrounds and varying levels of disengagement. Despite the challenges of 2020, the year was a resounding success for the students with 98% of the enrolled year 11 students continuing onto year 12 and others commencing apprenticeship trade careers.

The BUSY Group is now looking forward to opening a second BUSY School at Shailer Park in time for Term 1, 2021, and servicing the Logan region and surrounds.

What is the BUSY School?

The BUSY School is a Queensland special assistance school approved by the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board under the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2017.

Delivering an alternative learning solution to those students in years 11 and 12 who are looking for an opportunity to re-engage and complete their studies, the school aims for 100% of our students to go onto a Vocational Education and Training (VET) career or into further study, including university pathways.

The BUSY Schools program is designed for students who, for a variety of reasons, find traditional schooling difficult. Teachers work closely with students and their family to re-engage them with education in a nurturing environment that leads to career outcomes or further education that suits their abilities and passions.

Recently appointed CEO of the BUSY Schools, Lee Aitken is open to chat to organisations, schools and parents regarding the potential enrolment of students who, for whatever reason, are not thriving in the normal school system.

“It’s been an extraordinary year with the pressures and disruption of COVID and this has likely exacerbated the disengagement of young people from their studies. Not everyone thrives in the traditional schooling system and BUSY Schools is an alternative for those students who may have disengaged.”, Lee stated.

Lee Aitken can be contacted via email at or by calling 1300 176 472.

Further information regarding BUSY Schools can be found at

Watch video of School Captain Kira tell her experience at BUSY Schools Cairns Campus.

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