EDGE go to the New England North West! Moree and Boggabilla!

Job Ready

When we heard one of the Education Pathways Program schools was Lightning Ridge- I remember  looking at Russ saying - is this for real? It was just surreal to me. We've been lucky enough to travel around the state for the EPP- but to actually deliver an EDGE workshop to students at Lightning Ridge was beyond my comprehension. This program I started in the Illawarra - was now making it to almost the Queensland border? That's pretty cool.

This trip was planned for last year in Term 4 when the Moree floods hit- so that put a spanner in our plans. A spanner that helped because I had recently had vestibular neuritis on the last two weeks trip, and not being able to deliver bought us some time for me to recover.

For those who don't know its basically you inner ear which controls the balance no longer works, so your ability to judge distance, do basic stuff like balance and walk straight was severly impaired- recovery time helps!

The planning came into Term One which was awesome for me. I could deliver- but it would be the back end of Term so my family could come and experience a really cool trip without me being sick again!

We had a bumper term with 36 schools in the EPP being delivered to and to add in an extra 8 schools out west was exciting. The planning was done with Russ and the Head Teacher Careers Donna McWhirter and Rachael Shearer- two legends that have a work ethic that puts city dwellers to shame. Country women are built differently- trust me! They astonish me and always make me want to do more. The rural head teachers are impressive- add in Kylie Adams and Kirsty Ebzery- everything is taken in their stride- I've never heard them complain or say no- they have the "Let's just do it and talk less - do more" attitude because they really do move mountains to help their kids.

Ok so the plan was to visit 8 schools- thanks Russ- no break? Awesome- did I mention I'm crap with staying upright? Oh well, lets roll the dice!

The planning starts months before though- the amount of product, gift packs and general consumables- everything we have to take all has to be calculated- you see- there's actually so many unknown factors. You never know how many students will have to turn up so you have to plan for the "worst case scenario" We would have to use my van, our purpose built trailer we got in the pilot phase and pray to the packing gods it all fits.

Well- that's my method. Hope and pray and shove to make things fit. Not for our Ops Manager Russ. Everything is weighed, measured and calculated- oh and don't forget Russ it's going to be hot- so insulate the trailer in your spare time leading up to it, do some 14 hour days so our product doesn't melt?! Far out- its going to be a big one.

Nothing runs to plan in the EDGE world- that's why we're so adaptable from presenting to organising- we almost expect  panners. Our barber Deej had sadly lost his grandparent so he flew home to NZ the week before and was landing on the Sunday morning- all good- easy fixed! Then we had another staff member completely forget it was her niece's wedding and had to be there - just days before we left...all good- we subbed another flexible staff member in. Change flights, transfers- stressful? A tad. Let's just say we didn't see Russ until late in the evening for two weeks leading up to the trip- adding solar panels, batteries, mini camping fridge so we can move perishables from place to place as we'll be on the road a fair bit.

My serious request...Can we take a coffee machine? There was an eye roll and a look- but I know he was thinking the same. I left him to it- insulate the trailer at break neck speed!..and add a coffee machine if you can ;)

My family and I drive from Wollongong to Tamworth on the Saturday of Week 9- a 6 hour trip we've done a few times already. The kids are part excited part annoyed because they've got tasks due while we're away- no excuses- just do them!

We stay at the awesome Powerhouse Hotel in Tamworth overnight and head to breakfast knowing the team will be flying into Tamworth in a few hours.

Stay at the Powerhouse Hotel Tamworth in style!

Everything is packed, trailer in tow and a cool Kluger hire car for the two weeks for the others. Pick the team up, get Deej to show his licence- what's that? he left it in Sydney??? What...ok Tash is designated driver for the trip. Sorry Tash.

We have to get to Moree- a three hour trip from Tamworth- a team selfie at the silos at Barraba! Squeeze in!


Monday- We start off in Moree on the Monday with Year 11s looking to transition into work- not going to lie- the older students are harder to get involved. They're too cool for anything, then they are less interactive and receptive to any information and they're hard to deliver to. It ain't all sunshine and rainbows presenting- and this wasn't the most receptive group initially - but majority were good and appreciative! It wasn't an easy gug on the Monday. We spoke to some great Year 12s who were keen for us to come back.

Onto Tuesday, we hit the road to Boggabilla- or Bogga as the locals call it and hoping for a more engaged group- and we got one! Sadly there had been a death in the community of one of the elders, so they were expecting lower than normal numbers. The thing is- with a Central School- you almost get all the year groups- and this was no exception- Year 7s up to Year 12s. All 15 of them.  The staff were amazing,, and with all Central schools, they teach multiple subjects. The staff are resilient and super adaptable- they make anything work. 

Miss Molly was supportive enough of her students and chose to try on the interview clothes for the practical sessions with the girls ( see below ) and the male teachers got involved by having a haircut with our barber Deej. The EDGE team were out playing handball at break times and i was playing Jenga with a student barry, hoping his creation would tumble. 

 The boys weren't shy at all!

The afternoon sessions we had the CEO Mr Carl Manton from Goondiwindi Council come and chat and Operations Manager Mark from Essential Energy joined us again and the students were great asking them what they would like in an employee.

 Another school, more travelling!

Back to Moree for the night, and we hit a huge storm coming in! You can see how easily it floods out here being so flat with nowhere to go. Massive trucks on the road, we wanted to get off and get in for the night.


Moree for the night, then we're at narrabri High in the morning!!