Wellington's Sean Jamieson is among 13 young men to graduate from what a senior police detective described as a life changing program.
For 10 weeks the group have taken part in a Fit For Work program at Dubbo's PCYC, where they obtained qualifications like a first aid certificate and white card to allow them to do construction work.
As a result many of them will now go on to get their first jobs, pursue formal training or complete their schooling
With genuine support from proactive police and role models in the community, the teenagers are also more likely to stay on the right side of the law.
"For some of you it might be your first certificate but it won't be your last," NSW Youth and Crime Prevention Squad Detective Chief Inspector Darren Newman said at the Fit For Work graduation ceremony on Wednesday.
"This program changes lives. Use this as a stepping stone to go forward, don't use it to go backwards," he urged graduates.
Orana Mid-Western Police District commander Superintendent Peter McKenna said he "could not be prouder" of the Fit For Work graduates.
"These are wonderful young people who've got so much to contribute," he said.
Sean Jamieson was so committed to to the Fit For Work program he got up at 5.45am every day to catch the bus from Wellington to Dubbo to take part.
"I found getting the info to go into the workplace was very helpful," Sean said.
"I'm going to study a certificate in construction and I'm getting on-the-job experience.
"Anything hands-on I've caught onto really quick."
Sean's mum Dallas Jamieson said school was not for him and the Fit For Work program had a positive impact.
"He's found direction and purpose," she said.
Fit For Work graduate Tyrell Ryan said Superintendent McKenna got him involved in the program.
The 15-year-old told the Australian Community Media he was "getting locked up, doing silly things" when Superintendent McKenna asked him if he wanted to take part in the program.
"As soon as I started this program, I realised I didn't need to do that anymore," Tyrell said.
Grandmother Margaret Ryan praised police and the Fit For Work team for support they gave her grandson.
"The support we got from Willie Middleton and everyone was fantastic. I've noticed a big change in Tyrell and he's now looking at gradually finishing school and thinking about doing policing," Margaret said.
Kyle Daley and his family also spoke highly of the Fit For Work program.
"It taught me so much, I'm much happier and now I'm looking to get a trade," the 16-year-old said.
"I didn't fit in, the school suggested I do it and I reckon a lot of young people should do it."
Kyle, who is also a talented Aboriginal dancer, will now represent Dubbo at the annual PCYC state conference in November.
His mother Julie Wright said her son's outlook on life had improved and grandmother Lorraine Wright called on political leaders to deliver more programs like Fit For Work.
"We need more programs on the ground to look at all the underlying issues that impact our youth and hopefully steer them away from the criminal justice system," Lorraine said.
While the Fit For Work program may be over for now, the police and community leaders who delivered it said they would continue to support graduates as they followed their desired life and career paths.