Heywire winner, Zane from south Kolan, Queensland, shares his story
Listen to an audio recording of this story here.
It’s 6:00am and freezing cold, and for most teenagers, time to start getting ready for school.
But not me — it’s a Wednesday and my day off school.
You might be thinking, Wednesday off school?
And I’m swimming with thousands of silver perch on a fish farm, 300 kilometres north of Brisbane.
I attend school at the Burnett Youth Learning Centre, but we still call it what it used to be known as, Barry’s Farm.
It’s a special assistance school for kids who have disengaged from mainstream leaning.
I used to go to a mainstream school, but I didn’t make the wisest of choices there.
I made mistakes.
I got caught with some drug paraphernalia in my bag and was suspended.
The chaplain gave me a choice to wait out my suspension or get a referral to Barry’s Farm.
It wasn’t the easiest decision to make.
It would mean leaving all my friends behind, but I chose to have an introductory day at Barry’s Farm and I haven’t looked back.
I carry the crates of fish out of the water, onto the scales, and then put them into a tank on the back of the truck, ready for transport.
It sounds repetitive, but I enjoy it, and it’s a great feeling making my own money.
Juggling work with school can be challenging at times, but I’m lucky to have flexibility and support from the teachers who want us to achieve our best.
One of my classes is a gym session, and I’ve become really interested in fitness — it makes me feel great.
It’s inspired me to consider personal training as a career when I leave school.
Overcoming the challenges I’m facing now as a teenager is helping prepare me for the future.
I guess it’s how the saying goes: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”.
While I haven’t made the best choices in the past, I’m glad that I’ve ended up where I am.