TEN dapper young chaps fronted up at Shoalhaven Community College on Tuesday dressed to the nines as part of the Skilled and Styled course for indigenous men.
The course has been run over the past five years for indigenous women as Skill Me Up Glam Me Up.
But when trainer Lisa Chapman opened up enrolments to both men and women, she was surprised, and thrilled, to have 13 men enrol.
This is a mad bunch of boys, it’s been deadly
“There was a massive amount of interest. I’m blown away,” she said.
“But I had to change the name – I couldn’t call it Skill Me Up Glam Me Up, because we don’t do any makeup or hair.
“I gave them all ‘man packs’ instead.”
Skilled and Styled is an eight-week course designed to give indigenous men a taste of several different disciplines and topics.
There is a big focus on employment readiness, with the guys learning about deportment, grooming, computers, resume writing and interviews.
They also learn about bush tucker, culture, hospitality, personal fitness and budgeting.
“It covers all employability skills,” Ms Chapman said.
“It’s about getting them interview ready and job ready.”
Ms Chapman said she had seen the confidence of the men skyrocket in just a few weeks of the course.
“Their personalities have really come out and their self-esteem has gone through the roof,” she said.
“They are really enjoying it.”
Jordan Thomas from Nowra is completing the course, while also volunteering 13 hours a week at the college.
He enrolled as he wanted to try something different.
“It’s pretty fun,” he said.
“I’d like to become an indigenous mentor, so I thought I’d do it.”
He hopes to gain work after completing the course.
Simon Reid from Jerringa (Orient Point) said he enjoyed the time spent with other men.
“This is a mad bunch of boys, it’s been deadly,” he said.
With two young children and a third on the way, he was also hoping to secure a job after the course.
“I’d like to find some work,” he said.
“I’ve learnt a lot – especially computer skills. Most of us hardly knew how to use them before, except for Facebook.”
Participant Trevor Bell wanted to be an example to others.
“I’d like to be a role model for other Koori fellas in the town to get an education,” he said.
Local employment agencies Campbell Page, Habitat Personnel and Sureway provided the smart outfits for the Skilled and Styled participants to wear.