A workplace partnership between St Paul's Catholic College and Kempsey's iconic business, Akubra, has resulted in three former students finding work at the factory in South Kempsey.
According to production manager at Akubra Heath Sharman, the students' work ethic highlights the school's focus on teaching them fundamental life skills for the workforce.
"St Paul's educates good, decent young men who will be with the organisation for a long time," he said.
"It is not an exaggeration to say we face challenges with an ageing workforce and no one to follow through to fill the void.
"The men working here are 25 to 40 year veterans and until recently we haven't had anyone coming behind them to replace them as they retire," Mr Sharman said.
Former St Paul's College students who have found work with Akubra are Jacob Kennedy, Joseph Jenkins and Matthew McLean.
Principal of St Paul's, Kevin Lewis, said he is very grateful the students have found meaningful work after finishing school.
"St Paul's offers a variety of academic options and caters for different styles of learning. Our focus is ensuring our students have access to facilities and support that enhance their education experience," he said.
"High school leaving age is now 17, so students have to stay in school until that time. Often this is not the best fit for them, so providing opportunities for them in both their course selection and work placement that gives meaning and purpose is so important," Mr Lewis said.
The three students now hold positions at the factory in South Kempsey and are continuing to learn new skills in the workplace.