Connect ‘n’ Grow is a company established in 2012 by Mr Michael Gleadow and Dr Naomi Gleadow. The Connect ‘n’ Grow journey began when Michael (former school teacher) and Naomi (Medical Doctor) identified an opportunity to combine their education and health backgrounds to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through a multidisciplinary approach. This led to the formation of a Registered Training Organisation delivering Health Training to low Socioeconomic Status students from remote and very remote communities across Northern Australia. At the core of Connect 'n' Grow’s business objectives was the need to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This was achieved through the delivery of health training to secondary school students across Northern Australia.

Our students have been provided with individualised support to nurture their transition from school to further vocational and/or tertiary education pathways. They have been supported using an individual case management approach to employment within the health services sector. In addition to the health literacy gained, the wraparound support system has created a stronger self-belief, incorporating cultural awareness and enhancing subsequent ownership of major issues within communities. Other spillover effects of our health training program have been the transfer of skills and knowledge from students to the collective community building their awareness and resilience on critical health issues.

Significant interest from Queensland and Northern Territory schools along with the strong health industry demand from the predicted shortage of healthcare professionals, has led to the expansion of our programs. Our qualification scope now includes:

  • Certificate II in Health Support Services
  • Certificate II in Community Services
  • Certificate II in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Healthcare 
  • Certificate III in Health Services Assistance
  • Certificate III in Community Services

Key aims of the program

  • Provide students with health literacy that can be taken back to their home community
  • Increase Australia's health workforce
  • Offer opportunities for students to engage with university, training and employment providers


  • Founded Seed Foundation in 2015 to take up the wraparound support function for Connect ‘n’ Grow students that identified as being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
  • Over 390 students have undertaken the program with a completion rate above 75% to date.
  • Between 2014 - 2016 coordinated annual First People’s Aspirations and Pathways camp at Griffith University bringing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to experience a week in the life of a university student.
  • Facilitated community engagement initiatives, including a Community Consultation hosted at Griffith University
  • Four students enrolled in a Bachelor of Public Health and Nursing and Midwifery at Griffith University, as a result of the Griffith University ‘Hands Up Project’
  • Four students employed in Aboriginal Medical Service in Townsville
  • Winner of 2014 Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) Partnership Award
  • Project managed the development of three Remote Health Trade Training Centers – up to the value of $1.4million