Broncos players mentor students

FORMER Stanthorpe footballer Michael Hancock will be one of two Brisbane Broncos role models for a mentoring program to help teenage indigenous students make better life choices.

Hancock played his first senior football for the Stanthorpe Gremlins and was in the open Toowoomba Clydesdales side while still eligible for under-18 football.

He went straight from Stanthorpe A-grade to Broncos A-grade in the club’s inaugural season in the NRL in 1988 and was soon in Queensland and Australian sides.

Long-serving Broncos player Mick De Vere is the other mentor.

Both Hancock and De Vere will act as role models, speaking to the students about their personal experiences and supporting participants in the transition from school to further education, employment or training.

The program, sponsored by NRMA Insurance Brokers, was launched by Federal Minister for Indigenous Employment Senator Mark Arbib, State Minister for Education Geoff Wilson, Broncos’ chief executive Bruno Cullen and Broncos indigenous players Justin Hodges and Jharal Yow Yeh at the launch this week.

The Broncos Employment and Mentoring Program will target about 60 young indigenous Australians living in the Ipswich area in their final year of school, with the aim of improving their retention and achievement levels.

The two-year program will include role models buddying with students to help with motivation, self esteem and goal-setting during Year 12.

The Broncos have dedicated a full-time staff member, former teacher Scot Czislowski, to the project.

“It is great to be involved with a program like this that allows us to target a certain area of the community and help some young people realise their potential,” Cullen said.

Senator Arbib also helped launch a similar program with the Gold Coast Titans, saying the dual initiatives would change the future of those they touched.

“The best thing that kids can do is get a good education,” Senator Arbib said.

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