Category: News

NAIDOC week starts 4th July – let’s celebrate our First Nations people!

Did you know the origins of NAIDOC Week date way back to the pre-1920s? It wasn’t until 1938 though, when white Australians, with growing awareness of what Australia Day meant for Aboriginal people, marched in protest alongside Aboriginal people. (Yes, you read right – the debate about Australia Day has been going on for over a century).

NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.  You can find out more about the origins and history of NAIDOC Week.

In short, NAIDOC week is about recognising and celebrating the history, culture and achievements of our First Nations’ people. Each year there is a different focus theme as well – this year’s very relevant theme is Heal Country, Heal our Nation.

Get involved!

NAIDOC Week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. It is also an opportunity to ask yourself, your friends, family and work colleagues, what can we do to celebrate our First Nation’s people, their incredibly old culture (considered the oldest culture in the world), their history pre and post the first fleet settlement, and the significant achievements and contributions that influence us today?

These achievements include cultural, political, scientific, environmental and spiritual contributions that have a positive impact on all Australians. Through education and recognising these achievements, all of us can further support to bridge the gap to ensure all Australians have equal opportunity. Through cooperation, we are closer to achieving this year’s theme to Heal Country, Heal our Nation.

How we will be getting involved

Paul Miles, Managing Director for The BUSY Group Ltd (which includes BUSY At Work, BUSY Schools, BUSY Ability and Skill360) said, “The BUSY Group is committed to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through education, skills and employment programs; to ensure they too have not only the financial security to support themselves and their family, but the opportunity to make meaningful contribution. We’re also committed to our Reconciliation Action Plan to hold us accountable in achieving this.

Our teams will be celebrating the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders next week by hosting morning teas, inviting and listening to our local Aboriginal representatives, and focussing on the theme to Heal Country, Heal our Nation”, Paul further stated.

You can find further information regarding NAIDOC Week 2021 and how you can get involved HERE

Read more below about how the BUSY Group is supporting our First Nations people through education, skills training and employment opportunities.


BUSY Schools Support Students in their Education and Career Pathways

Two Year 12 students at BUSY Schools Cairns, Kais and Jacob, are undertaking work experience as Diesel Mechanics at Kinetic Fleet Services who own Sunbus Depot and Love’s Buses in Smithfield.

Both students are really enjoying getting their hands dirty and are hoping to gain a school-based apprenticeship from the work experience opportunity. One of the students, Kais is feeling optimistic about pursuing this as a career, having never considered becoming a Diesel Mechanic until a few months ago.

Kais grew up in Torres Strait and Thursday Island and his earlier schooling was done via remote learning. He was taught only one topic per term and after hearing about BUSY Schools when he first moved to Cairns, he was really excited to attend a campus with a broader curriculum and support of employment pathways.

“I realised the program was a great fit for me as an individual and although going from learning one topic per term to learning ten topics per term was a big adjustment, the support I received from my teachers, where they go out of their way to assist me, was extremely helpful,” said Kais.

Employment Pathways Officer at BUSY Schools Cairns, Amba Tipton, stated, “At BUSY Schools we take the opportunity to get to know the students and treat them as equals.

This not only makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom, but it also allows us to gain a better understanding of their attitudes, learning abilities and appropriate career choices. This helps with our individualised approach to teaching and learning and support towards employment opportunities.”

Jacob came from a different educational experience and struggled at his last school, he didn’t enjoy the schooling and found it difficult to pay attention in class. He now appreciates the non-traditional school setting BUSY Schools offers and the assistance he gets from his teachers.

“I’ve found I am understanding the schoolwork a lot better because my teachers are explaining it to me in a way that helps me comprehend it easier,” said Jacob.

Lee Aitken, CEO for BUSY Schools said, “BUSY Schools is focused on the individual student, their strengths and career aspirations. Students get to explore pathways through work experience and vocational education alongside their school curriculum.  It’s great to see students like Jacob and Kai completely change the way they view their schoolwork and their future.”

BUSY Schools Cairns students, Jacob (L) and Kai (R), had the opportunity to undertake work experience in Diesel Mechanics trade with Kinetic Fleet Services.

For more information, visit

BUSY Schools Motivated Jade to Take an Interest in her Education Again

Having moved to Australia from New Zealand three years ago to be with the rest of her family, Jade found the adjustment quite difficult, including life at her new school as it was very different to the school she came from in New Zealand.

Eventually, Jade dropped out of the school halfway through Year 11 and found herself completely unmotivated to do anything outside of her home.

Referred to BUSY Schools, Jade soon gained an interest in learning again, as well as developing great friendships with the other students.

“I am making way better progress here at BUSY Schools than I was at my last school, my grades have increased, and I even had a 100% attendance rate last term which I was really proud of,” said Jade.

“The biggest difference has been the teachers and their teaching styles, they are more involved in your education and do a lot of one-on-one sessions with the students which I found helped me a lot,” Jade added.

Earlier this year, Jade started a traineeship in Business Administration at In Scope Training, a vocational training provider who offer a range of accredited courses. Jade attends each Wednesday as part of her school-based traineeship. On top of this Jade is also completing a Certificate I in Construction as she is unsure what industry she would like to go into after graduation, so is taking the time to explore her options and discover her career passion.

Employment Pathways Officer at BUSY Schools Shailer Park, Karlene Feldbauer, said getting Jade a traineeship was easy because she is so open and friendly, and will give absolutely anything a go.

“I invited a contact of mine to help out with training on campus and she mentioned she was looking for a trainee, I immediately thought of Jade and she started the following week,” said Karlene.

Recently, Jade was also invited by Minister Mick De Brenni to attend the Parliament House in Brisbane for a School Captain’s lunch where she witnessed Anastasia Palaszczuk deliver a motion into Parliament.

“I found the whole experience really inspirational and I also managed to get a selfie with the Minister,” said Jade.

“I would definitely recommend BUSY Schools to anyone wanting to go somewhere that makes you feel welcome and is interested in helping you with your studies,” added Jade.

Lee Aitken, CEO for BUSY Schools, a part of the BUSY Group Ltd, said, “We at BUSY Schools want to see our students succeed both in their education and in life. Our staff and teachers work to provide the support and encouragement to help them achieve their goals and become positive contributors to their community.”

For more information, visit

BUSY Schools is Preparing Zac for his Chosen Career Path

EXCITING UPDATE (September 10, 2021)

Since posting this story Zac has now been offered a full time apprenticeship with Mannix Pluming. He has even been offered a company car once he gets his P-Plates. Zac is grateful to BUSY Schools and now has his career pathway and a bright future ahead. Read more about how it all began below.

Earlier this year, Zac started as a Year 11 student at the BUSY Schools Shailer Park campus. When a group of employers visited the campus to talk to students about different industry career pathways, Zac discovered exactly what career path was for him.

Before attending BUSY Schools, Zac found his previous school quite stressful and disappointing. Ideally, he wanted to go to a school that didn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach and since being at BUSY Schools for over a term, Zac now feels extremely relaxed and appreciates all of his teachers.

“BUSY Schools has helped me a lot on both an emotional and educational level. I have come to understand the subjects much better than my old school and I am also a lot calmer than I was, which has improved my learning,” said Zac.

In addition to his ongoing schoolwork, Zac has completed work experience, a White Card course, and is in the midst of completing a Certificate I in Construction.

Employment Pathways Officer at BUSY Schools Shailer Park, Karlene Feldbauer, said Zac has achieved so much since starting at BUSY Schools and is beginning to show initiative in taking those necessary steps to help kick start his career as a Plumber.

“Zac decided he wanted to be a plumber following the talk given by industry employers in term one. A couple of days later, he came to me with a phone number of a plumbing company that did some work at his house and asked if we could see if they would be interested in having him do some work experience there,” said Karlene.

Once Scenic Rim Plumbing had confirmed their interest, Zac completed his work experience there every Wednesday for a term, and although they were unable to take him on board once he had finished, he is determined to find more opportunities to launch his career.

“I really enjoyed helping the team fix broken pipes and dig trenches and am hoping to do an apprenticeship in plumbing, so I can eventually become a qualified trades person,” Zac added.

Lee Aitken, CEO for BUSY Schools, a part of the BUSY Group Ltd, said, “BUSY Schools offers a welcoming place where students feel safe and supported. Our teachers and staff inspire and encourage students to re-engage with their education and take initiative in forming their career pathways. We have a holistic service offering through the BUSY Group, with links to vocational education and employment services.

Whether students want to go on to higher education, a trades pathway or get straight into work, we work individually with each student so that they get the chance to become the best version of themselves.” Lee further stated.

EXCITING UPDATE (10th September, 2021)

Since posting this story, Zac has now landed an apprenticeship with Mannix Plumbing and his career has now begun. He’s even been promised a company car once he gets his P-plates. Zac is really grateful for BUSY Schools and the direction provided – he has his future on track! Read more about how it all began for Zac below.

Thanks to the assistance and encouragement provided by BUSY Schools, Zac has decided he would like to pursue a career in Plumbing and has taken steps to help launch his career.

For more information, visit


MEDIA CONTACT:                     

Michelle Ryan, BUSY At Work

0407 169 029 or email

Calleb gets a head start in a career path, thanks to BUSY

The BUSY Schools Shailer Park campus opened at the beginning of this year with the very first intake of students for Year 11 Term 1. Since then it has been full steam ahead with many students undertaking a range of work experience activities and exploring different career pathways, all while undertaking their schooling.

One of the students, Calleb Heron, has already started a school-based traineeship, getting a head start into a career path while still at school. Calleb was recently signed into the traineeship by BUSY At Work, an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider, and, like BUSY Schools, a part of The BUSY Group.

While undertaking his school-based traineeship, Calleb spends one day a week at his new workplace, automotive service company, Millard Tyre and Service Centre. He benefits through learning on the job skills while studying to complete a Certificate II in Automotive Tyre Servicing Technology.

As for all school-based apprenticeships and traineeships, this one day a week at work becomes part of Calleb’s school curriculum and contributes to his Queensland Certificate of Education.

Despite this being his first job, Calleb has proven to be a tenacious and dedicated employee, never missing a day and taking himself to work each week via public transport, which includes both a bus and a train trip to get there.

Calleb’s supervisor at Millards, Jess Lee, stated, “Calleb has proven himself during his time here and displays a great level of maturity, sometimes staying back after finishing time”.

Calleb, who has always been interested in cars, has stated he stays back at times because he is enjoying the work so much.

“For young people in their senior schooling, working out what you want to do after school can be daunting. BUSY Schools support all students to find their ‘niche’ based on their strengths and what they like doing.

“Calleb seems to thrive in a hands-on learning environment and thanks to the traineeship, he’ll have a head start in his chosen industry including contacts, references and most importantly the skills and experience”, CEO for BUSY Schools, Lee Aitken stated.

Calleb is starting a traineeship while still at school which will give him a great start to a career in automotive services.

Enrolments are still available for the Shailer Park and Cairns campuses, in time for Term 2.

BUSY Schools is also opening a new school for the Brisbane region, in Salisbury, ready for Term 2, and enrolments are being taken now.

To enquire, or for more information regarding BUSY Schools visit or
contact 1300 176 472 or email


MEDIA CONTACT:                     

Michelle Ryan, BUSY At Work

0407 169 029 or email

Shailer Park students tell us what they think

The second BUSY Schools campus at Shailer Park opened in February 2021 and we recently caught up with some of the students to ask them what they thought of their new school.

Cameron photo


“It’s easier than a normal school, more lenient and relaxed. Really friendly students and teachers. “I like cars so I’m interested in a career in the automotive industry, maybe as a mechanic or in car sales”.
Jeremiah photo


“The other students are great, everyone gets along and are supportive. “I want to become a ‘sparky’ and work with electrics”.
Ensar  photo


“It’s different but in a good way. The teachers are very proactive and like to help, and the other students are friendly. The education here is good and for people looking for a future in trades it’s the best school. “I want to work in the automotive industry as I have an interest in cars.”
Kristen photo


“Everyone’s nice, especially the teachers who help you find what you need. We also get free food, a uniform and stationary which is great too. “I’m looking at either becoming an electrician or a midwife – not sure yet!”
Jayden photo


“There are nice people here, everyone’s friendly including the staff. “I’m interested in a plumbing apprenticeship to become a plumber as I think it’s interesting and its good pay”.

Find out more about BUSY Schools Shailer Park campus and their first term since opening!

New BUSY Schools Campus to Open in Salisbury

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 third campus in Queensland on the back of their two successful schools opening in Cairns (2020) and Shailer Park early this year. The third campus, located in Salisbury, Brisbane will open in Term 2, 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 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 Cairns campus has opened additional classes in 2021 to cater for demand and the second campus in Shailer Park is fast enrolling students in the Logan region.

The BUSY Group is now looking forward to opening the third BUSY School at Salisbury in Term 2, 2021, servicing Brisbane 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’s goal is that 100% of graduates gain employment or progress to further training or education on completion of the program’

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.

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

“Not everyone thrives in the traditional schooling system and BUSY Schools is an alternative for those students who may have disengaged. We are really proud of the results we have seen so far with our students, the difference we are making in young people’s lives is inspiring to all our staff who are incredibly invested in the successful education and career pathway outcomes we achieve for our students”, 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.



MEDIA CONTACT:                     

Michelle Ryan, BUSY At Work

0407 169 029 or email

What our Students Say about BUSY Schools

Not every kid has a great time at school and for some it can be a real struggle, fitting in with their peers, keeping up with the curriculum while juggling personal issues or problems at home can make it extremely tough for some.

BUSY Schools offers an alternative schooling for Year 11 and 12 students who are disengaged with mainstream schooling, providing a supportive environment with smaller classes and options to explore vocational career paths while still completing their QCE.

The first campus for BUSY Schools opened in Cairns in 2020 and approximately 55 students recently finished their first year 11 studies successfully. With another campus opening in Shailer Park in time for Term 1 2021, we asked some of the Cairns campus students what they thought of their first year at BUSY Schools. Here’s what they had to say.

Jess recently completed year 11 and will complete Year 12 in 2021 at BUSY Schools.

“I like how the school has no fees. They are actually trying to help and it feels genuine here, the teachers seem to really care. I want to work in hospitality and one day run my own café”.

Ethan completed Year 11 with BUSY Schools and is now studying with TAFE and pursuing a Plumbing Apprenticeship.

“I like that it’s not too hard, we get lots of help and teachers try hard to support us. They care but also give us more freedom, there are less rules here. I want to do a plumbing apprenticeship, I’ve now been accepted into TAFE which is great”.

Una completed Year 11 and received the 2020 Principals Award for outstanding achievement.

“I love walking into the school and seeing all the staff and teachers. They do a lot for the students and even looked after my son while I did my exams. My goal is to work in the community services sector where I can help people”.

Kira completed Year 11 and was awarded School Captain due to her exceptional leadership abilities.

“What I like about BUSY Schools is that no student goes unnoticed, every student has their place. The school is helping me to gain my QCE while also providing life skills and some certificates along the way”.

“I thought I was interested in hotel management but the teachers at BUSY Schools have inspired me to follow a career in early childhood education. I recently completed four days of work experience in a school and loved it!”


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

You can view more of Kira’s feedback regarding BUSY Schools below:


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.

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