Integrated Pathways at Kepnock (IP@K)

Share Integrated Pathways at Kepnock (IP@K) on Facebook Share Integrated Pathways at Kepnock (IP@K) on Twitter Share Integrated Pathways at Kepnock (IP@K) on Linkedin Email Integrated Pathways at Kepnock (IP@K) link

Youth unemployment rates in the Bundaberg region remain one of Australia’s highest. The challenge of youth unemployment is caused by complex social and economic factors that have left youth disengaged from education, work, and future opportunity.

For the local employers, disengagement has resulted in difficulty in finding workers and has created a false stigma about our region.

IP@K is a vocation-based program for year 7-10 students to address these challenges and re-connect disengaged youth through a series of immersive experiences hosted by businesses throughout the Bundaberg region.

2022 Pilot Cohort

Kepnock State High School, Bundaberg Regional Council and local agriculture stakeholders launched the program in Term 2 of 2022 to support a cohort of 10 students in an immersive learning approach through hands-on skills acquisition, competency training and building relationships with industry mentors.

This new approach has led students to develop interest in a range of local industries and has built confidence and inspired them to pursue a brighter future. Below are key project outcomes:

  • Significant improvement in attendance and behaviour
  • Student perception data showed an improvement in self-confidence, engagement in learning and positive relationships with the Bundaberg community.
  • The program was strongly supported by the student’s families and we have had expressions of interest from a large number of students and parents/carers to be involved in IP@K.
  • Since the successful completion of the pilot program, the IP@K steering group has been approached by a range of industries and organisations who have expressed interest in being involved in future programs.

IP@K 2023 – Expressions of Interest for Industry Mentors

The steering committee is preparing the IP@K program for 2023. The aim for 2023 is to expand the program beyond agriculture to include construction, tourism and hospitality, and much more.

If this is something you or your organisation would like to be involved in, please complete the expression of interest form and one of the IP@K steering committee members will be in contact with the next step.


For more information, please contact Steffi Bates on steffi.bates@bundaberg.qld.gov.au.

Youth unemployment rates in the Bundaberg region remain one of Australia’s highest. The challenge of youth unemployment is caused by complex social and economic factors that have left youth disengaged from education, work, and future opportunity.

For the local employers, disengagement has resulted in difficulty in finding workers and has created a false stigma about our region.

IP@K is a vocation-based program for year 7-10 students to address these challenges and re-connect disengaged youth through a series of immersive experiences hosted by businesses throughout the Bundaberg region.

2022 Pilot Cohort

Kepnock State High School, Bundaberg Regional Council and local agriculture stakeholders launched the program in Term 2 of 2022 to support a cohort of 10 students in an immersive learning approach through hands-on skills acquisition, competency training and building relationships with industry mentors.

This new approach has led students to develop interest in a range of local industries and has built confidence and inspired them to pursue a brighter future. Below are key project outcomes:

  • Significant improvement in attendance and behaviour
  • Student perception data showed an improvement in self-confidence, engagement in learning and positive relationships with the Bundaberg community.
  • The program was strongly supported by the student’s families and we have had expressions of interest from a large number of students and parents/carers to be involved in IP@K.
  • Since the successful completion of the pilot program, the IP@K steering group has been approached by a range of industries and organisations who have expressed interest in being involved in future programs.

IP@K 2023 – Expressions of Interest for Industry Mentors

The steering committee is preparing the IP@K program for 2023. The aim for 2023 is to expand the program beyond agriculture to include construction, tourism and hospitality, and much more.

If this is something you or your organisation would like to be involved in, please complete the expression of interest form and one of the IP@K steering committee members will be in contact with the next step.


For more information, please contact Steffi Bates on steffi.bates@bundaberg.qld.gov.au.

  • IP@K students graduate as program grows

    Share IP@K students graduate as program grows on Facebook Share IP@K students graduate as program grows on Twitter Share IP@K students graduate as program grows on Linkedin Email IP@K students graduate as program grows link
    supporting image

    IP@K graduates celebrated their completion of the 2023 program alongside school, Council and business representatives.

    The second graduating class of the Integrated Pathways at Kepnock (IP@K) program were recently awarded their certificates having completed two terms of exposure to various businesses around Bundaberg.

    Established in 2022, the IP@K program aims to give disengaged youth alternative pathways to education and employment through interactive learning experiences with participating industry mentors.

    Kepnock State High School (KSHS) Year Eight coordinator Danni Hibbert the program aims to give disengaged youth alternative pathways to education and employment through interactive learning experiences with participating industry mentors.

    Kepnock State High School (KSHS) Year Eight coordinator Danni Hibbert said the program was not only beneficial for the students involved but for the participating businesses as well.

    “Many businesses have wanted to support students in some way or other but are just not sure how to do so, so it’s a good opportunity for them,” Danni said.

    “It’s been fantastic for both sides.”

    Danni said the program allowed students to explore the kinds of job opportunities available to them, gain skills, meet industry mentors and add a certificate to their resumes, all of which would open pathways for them next year and beyond.

    “It’s a great opportunity particularly for year nines and eights who’d be coming up to the age where they can actually get employment,” she said.

    “A lot of them have been able to hand their resumes in to the industries they’ve been to and they already know some of the industry mentors so it’s broken down that barrier for them.

    “For some students they would have been too nervous to approach them, so it’s definitely increased their confidence being part of the program.

    “I’m so proud of the students today, it’s been great to go through the program with them, and I’m also proud of businesses in Bundaberg for supporting them.”

    I@PAK's continued growth

    Following the continued success of IP@K, the program was given another boost thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).

    The grant was applied for on behalf of the IP@K Steering Committee by Bundaberg Regional Council to assist with resourcing and project delivery.

    Funds were allocated to KSHS to cover staff supervision, transportation and resources; to Peirson Services to pay the cost of youth worker services for terms two and three; and to the Tom Quinn Community Centre to provide staff facilitators at workshops.

    Mayor Jack Dempsey thanked all involved for the work that had been done with the program so far and said it had been demonstrably effective in encouraging participants to consider their career paths.

    “I want to thank all the other organisations as well as Council staff that are doing a tremendous job in changing the lives of Bundaberg youth,” Mayor Dempsey said.

    “Thanks to this funding, the IP@K program can continue to support these students in helping to make positive decisions both in terms of their vocational choices but also life decisions as well.”

    The initial three-month pilot of the IP@K program was completed in term two last year and resulted in a substantial drop in participating students’ behaviour entries logged on the OneSchool system as well as a re-engagement back into the formal schooling system.

    The program has since tripled in size to support 30 students from years seven, eight and nine who have been able to build on relationships and further engage, expose and immerse themselves in relevant industry experiences.

    Businesses involved in the 2023 IP@K program were:

    • Alexandra Park Zoo
    • Aust Chilli
    • Bundaberg Brewed Drinks
    • Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers
    • Bundaberg Regional Libraries
    • Bundaberg Rum
    • Bundaberg Tourism
    • Carinbundi
    • Community Lifestyle Support and MAKI Space
    • Drivers College
    • Fairymead House
    • Gin Gin and Dry Gourmet Fried Fruits
    • Gin Gin Landcare
    • Green Solutions
    • Hinkler Hall of Aviation
    • JetBest Group – Bee Mart
    • Macadamias Australia
    • Marquis Macadamias
    • McHugh Steel
    • Peirson Farms
    • Peirson Services
    • RDO Equipment
    • Stahmann Webster
    • Suncoast Gold Macadamias
    • TAFE QLD
    • Tom Quinn Community Centre
    • Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services

    Read the full Bundaberg Now story here.

  • Local businesses wanted for IP@K program

    Share Local businesses wanted for IP@K program on Facebook Share Local businesses wanted for IP@K program on Twitter Share Local businesses wanted for IP@K program on Linkedin Email Local businesses wanted for IP@K program link
    supporting image

    Local agricultural, construction, tourism and hospitality industry leaders are being encouraged to sign up for the next Integrated Pathways at Kepnock program to help inspire the region's youth and guide their career opportunities.

    The inaugural IP@K program was launched in April this year, designed to develop students’ learning through authentic, hands-on skills and experiences in realistic, vocational settings.

    In 2022, ten participants from Year 7 to Year 9 were engaged for one day per week in a range of activities with industry mentors, including on farms and in the kitchen.

    Businesses such as Macadamias Australia and Pierson Farm jumped on board to guide the students across 12 weeks.

    After its success, program coordinators including Kepnock State High School and Bundaberg Regional Council, are looking to roll out IP@K again in 2023.

    Kepnock teacher and IP@K creator Dannielle Hibbert said the aim was to give disengaged youth an alternative pathway to education, featuring interactive learning with industry mentors.

    She said IP@K 2022 had been a great success.

    “In particular, students commented on liking the hands-on nature of learning from industry representatives and experiencing what type of work is available in Bundaberg,” Dannielle said.

    “Mentors frequently mentioned how curious and eager the IP@K students were to learn about all aspects of agriculture.

    “The authentic nature of the program gave students the opportunity to listen, learn and apply their knowledge as well as the capacity to form productive connections within and beyond the school community.

    “Analysis of school engagement data also showed a significant improvement amongst the students and it was an absolute pleasure seeing the kid’s confidence and enthusiasm to interact with Bundaberg professionals each week.”

    Peirson Farms support IP@K

    Local organisation Peirson Farms was quick to show their support for IP@K 2022, providing students the opportunity to work on the land and learn more about the agriculture industry.

    CEO Madeline Marais said it was a fantastic initiative to be part of.

    “Meeting the young people at the launch was exciting but meeting those same kids on the farm 10 weeks later confirmed the benefits of this program,” she said.

    “It was so encouraging to see how the reserved kids transformed into outgoing, joking, self-confident young people and this just re-affirmed the benefit of this program.

    “I can’t wait to see where we will go with this program.”

    Aron Rogers, Noah McGuire, Danni Neilson, Jordyn Ball, Teila Leech, Kate Jorgensen and Nick Howkins at the IP@K graduation.

    Community support vital in student education

    Dannielle said IP@K demonstrated that the community truly understood that it took a village to raise a child and that positive engagement fostered confidence and growth for youth.

    She said in 2023, it was hoped more local businesses would jump on board to offer support.

    “The IP@K pilot targeted agriculture and hospitality,” Danielle said.

    “We would really like to expand the program to include tourism, retail, construction and more.

    “One of the benefits of connecting with our community was the opportunity for students to see that every industry is made up of many components, allowing IP@K participants to recognise the various job opportunities in any given business.”

    Danielle said the outcome of the 2022 pilot had led to the formation of an IP@K Governance Committee comprising Kepnock SHS (Chair), Bundaberg Regional Council (Facilitator), Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (Industry Liaison), Peirson Trust (Youth Support) and Macadamias Australia (Industry Representative) and Suncoast Gold Macadamias (Industry Representative).

    The Focus for 2023 is to expand the program to support three times the number of student participants and widen industry participation to include tourism, retail and construction.

    “Ultimately our vision is to help all young people plan for and shape their future and make a contribution to the wider community by providing them with the essential knowledge, understanding and skills for participation in the rapidly changing world of work,” Danielle said.

    How to get involved:

    The IP@K Committee will be holding several information sessions for prospective industry representatives who would like more information about becoming mentors or would like to know more about how to support this valuable program.

    Information sessions are to be held in December 2022 and January 2023 with exact dates and times to be confirmed.

    To submit an expression of interest form, click here.


    Read the full Bundaberg Now story here.

Page last updated: 23 May 2024, 08:10 AM