Ruhkoa powered to succeed

21 Jun 2024

Ruhkoa has set his sights on becoming an electrician after leaving NRL Cowboys House with a work ethic that powers positive opportunities.    

Ruhkoa with fellow 2023 graduate Josh 

Ruhkoa Ahmat-Nona is from Badu Island in the Torres Strait, which is located 1,134km north of his new home in Townsville.

In 2018, the now 18-year-old courageously said goodbye to his family and community and made the big journey to NRL Cowboys House in Townsville.  

Ruhkoa, like many boarding students at the House found “it’s like a family away from home”.  

This year, known as ‘Year 13’ for House graduates, Ruhkoa is adapting to a bright new way of life.  

He lives independently at Tec-NQ and has been facing every challenge with unwavering support from his House family.   

This support has led to Ruhkoa wanting to give back to where it all started – by mentoring and guiding current House students.

“I love coming back to the House whenever I can. It will always feel like home.” 

Ruhkoa with fellow 2023 graduate Wyatt - off to Tec-NQ 

Ruhkoa’s positive energy has always impressed one of his biggest supporters, Derek Reston, a career transitions officer at the House.  

Derek has been there for Ruhkoa from the start and has seen him develop into “an outstanding role model for younger students”.  

“Ruhkoa always put great effort into anything he was involved in and that is why he left the House with such maturity and willingness to succeed." 

Derek empowered Ruhkoa to find the right fit in accommodation and employment following his official departure from NRL Cowboys House.  At times this support included out-of-hours transport and temporary stays at his family home. 

Now, Ruhkoa is looking forward to starting an apprenticeship with AE Smith – specialists in commercial air-conditioning and mechanical services and a Friend of the House.   

“I’m really keen to get started,” said Ruhkoa. 

Ruhkoa graduates with fellow student Isaiah and career transitions officer Derek Reston

Ruhkoa is one of 68 students from remote communities to have successfully transitioned from secondary school to further education, training or employment since NRL Cowboys House opened in 2017.