FORMER rugby league footballer Kevin Campion spent Wednesday afternoon with young indigenous trainees at Busy At Work's TAFE site.

Noah Saumalu-Johnson was one of three indigenous school-based apprentices at the session.

The Year 12 Toolooa State High School student said juggling study with work placement was challenging, but worth it.

"It's fantastic; really fun," he said.

The boilermaking trainee said he enjoyed working away from school campus for one day every week, where he got to do a mix of workplace and classroom learning.

His work placements at a local engineering firm are practical, which Noah enjoys.

"It's more fun getting your hands dirty," he said.

Noah aims to be a professional rugby league player and is currently a star player of Brothers, according to Kevin Campion.

"I watched him in the grand final last year," Mr Campion said.

"He was the stand-out player of the match, for both teams."

Mr Campion talked to the trainees, two of whom dream of being professional sportsmen, about the importance of setting up a sustainable career as well as pursuing sport.

"You've only got a five to 10-year window to make some money (in sport)," he said. "Whereas with trade skills behind you, you've got work for life."

The skills development session was one of many run by Busy At Work, whose team leader Vanessa Parry said Mr Campion's support was a highlight for the students.

The school-based apprenticeship and traineeship program Busy At Work is funded by Santos GLNG and aims to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students a pathway to work placements.

A Santos GLNG spokesperson said the business was pleased to be helping young people by implementing a range of school-based traineeship, apprenticeship and cadetship programs in Gladstone.

"We are committed to ensuring the communities in which we operate are a great place to live and work. We have a similar program in Roma and have recently started one in Brisbane," the spokesperson said.

"We have a proven track record of investing the benefits of a world-class gas industry back into the community, and helping young people transition from school into meaningful employment is just one of the many ways we continue to support Queenslanders."



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