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A Word From Johnathan
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Johnathan Thurston surprises students in Cairns with a visit

Published on 20 Aug 2020

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Johnathan Thurston surprises students in Cairns with a visit
Our Managing Director surprised school students in Cairns last week when he turned up to launch his new program JTConnect.

The JTConnect program is an initiative of the Johnathan Thurston Academy, sponsored by Deadly Choices Indigenous health campaign, and is designed to empower young people to take ownership of their career options and what they want to do with their lives.

“I was very excited about the launch of JTConnect, which will see us visiting a number of high schools around Cairns and Logan over the next year,” Thurston said.  “We truly believe that the more empowered young people feel to pursue their own choices for their lives, the better. This is encouraged by instilling a strong sense of self-belief, confidence, and courage that they can pursue a career or a job of their choice.

“We want kids to believe in themselves and have the confidence and courage to make good choices, like turning up to school every day.  This makes the world of difference when it comes to pursuing the job of their dreams and feeling like they have a choice when it comes to their career path.

“It makes me incredibly sad when I see the lack of self-belief, confidence, and courage among our youth. It’s what drives me and the team at the JT Academy to work with our nation’s youth to make a difference, one step at a time.

“In everything we do, we aim to inspire our youth to feel proud and strong with their identity and who they are as individuals and this program will go a long way towards this goal.”

The JTConnect program will be offered free to schools and will be open to students aged 15 years and over. Trained facilitators will deliver school-based and online virtual activities aimed at improving their confidence, courage, and self-belief and inspiring Australia’s next generation to pursue the employment and career options which spark their interest.

Program Partner Deadly Choices was established by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) 10 years ago. IUIH CEO Adrian Carson said the JTConnect partnership is built around sharing values with the JT Academy including building confidence, courage, and self-belief.

“JT is a hero and a legend to many in Australia and the JT Academy programs and resources directly link in with our Deadly Choices strategy of empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to make healthy choices and shape their work future through training and employment pathways,” Adrian said.

“We are proud to partner with this program and support the goal of help building confidence, courage, and self-belief in young adults to help them understand their value and aspirations with future employment opportunities.

“There is clear evidence of the link between health, education, and employment outcomes and so working alongside JT Academy as a JTConnect Program Partner is helping us to connect with our young people to increase engagement and to facilitate aspiration to deadly careers pathways.”

At various JTConnect workshops, Deadly Choices will also run their Good Quick Tukka program and provide some great initiatives to encourage regular health checks.

The JTConnect program will be running over the next 12 months and will see the team visit a number of schools in the Cairns and Logan regions.

Schools within the Logan and Cairns areas are invited to contact Rhi Parsons or the team at to register for the free program.


Johnathan Thurston Academy pays the deepest respect to the Traditional Custodians of Country across Australia. We acknowledge and thank our Elders who demonstrated over 60,000 years of sustainable Indigenous business and ask them to guide us back on track to a more prosperous and purposeful future.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have passed away.