Bright future and great lifestyle ahead for Far North Class of 2022

Published Friday, 18 November, 2022 at 10:30 AM


Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing
The Honourable Grace Grace

Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development
Mr Michael Healy

Far North Queenslanders have farewelled graduating Year 12 students on their last day of school, wishing them all the best for the future.

A recent survey shows that future is brighter than ever, with their predecessors, the Class of 2021, recording a major increase in engagement in education, training and employment after graduating.

Education Minister Grace Grace said the 2022 Next Step survey showed graduates from the Far North are kicking goals.

“In the Far North, total engagement in education, training and employment for the most recent graduates has risen to 87.8% in 2022 from 82.4% in 2019,” Ms Grace said.

“This year’s graduating Year 12 students can celebrate their success knowing a bright future of good jobs and a great lifestyle lies ahead of them.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring all Queensland students get a world-class education, regardless of where in our state they live.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the survey results show the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for economic recovery from COVID-19 is ensuring students from the Far North have a strong pathway to their future careers.

“As the father of a Year 12 student, graduating this year, I understand and share the concerns of parents in our region for our children’s future, but I am buoyed by the survey results,’’ Mr Healy said.  

“The 2022 Next Step survey shows us that young people in the Far North have been highly resilient in their learning during the COVID pandemic, and they’re now in a position to prosper in life after school.”

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said it was pleasing to see the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates engaging in education, training or employment has continued to improve, up 1.2 percentage points from last year to 76.7%.

“I’m a proud mum of a young man from the Torres Strait, who just yesterday officially graduated Year 12,’’ Ms Lui said.

“I know there are many others across the State who are celebrating just like me and my son. I am just so thrilled to see the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates continues trending in the right direction.

“This is an excellent result and shows the Palaszczuk Government’s continued focus on improving learning outcomes for all Queenslanders is working.”

Speaker and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt wished Year 12s in the Far North all the best in their future endeavours.

“The last day of your school life is a celebration of all you’ve achieved at school and an exciting time to think of all that is to come,” Mr Pitt said.

Bachelor Degree studies remain the most popular destination for Year 12 students after graduating.

“Between university, TAFE or employment, there are many great options for students of the Far North in their first year out of school,” Mr Pitt said.

“Participation in employment by last year’s Year 12 students across Queensland has increased 3.2 percentage points to above pre-pandemic levels and the highest rate since 2009, while participation in education and training has also reached pre-pandemic levels.”

Woree State High School Class of 2021 graduate Keegan Nolan said that the school’s SchoolTech program gave him a career head start in training to become a boat skipper.

“By gaining a school-based traineeship in Year 11 with The Shoreline Foundation, hosted by Experience. Co, I rolled into full time employment with my employer when I had completed Year 12,” Keegan said.

“I am currently studying two Certificate IIIs in Maritime Operations, which means that in approximately one year I will be able to be the skipper on the vessels where I started my training when I was still at school.”

Mareeba State High School 2021 graduate Liam Goldsworthy is studying a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at James Cook University Townsville campus.

“Mareeba State High School provided a quality education that enabled me to reach my full academic potential,” Liam said.

Mareeba State High School Principal Scott Whybird said that the opportunities for students are vast.

“Having students such as Liam from the small town of Dimbulah studying medicine is a testament to the way rural students see the opportunities for the future and how they set high expectations for their learning post school,” Mr Whybird said.

More than 51,000 Year 12 students from 2021 were invited to participate in the 2022 Next Step survey, with more than 39,000 providing a response.

For more information on the 2022 Next Step survey, and for full regional breakdowns of statistics from right across Queensland, visit

Far North data was calculated with survey results of students from the LGAs of Aurukun, Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Cook, Douglas, Lockhart River, Mareeba, Northern Peninsula Area, Tablelands, Torres and Weipa.


Media contact: Bryce Heaton 0434 575 237