Ready for work

Story courtesy the Koori Mail

LOCAL cafes and large corporations mixed with Job Ready program students and graduates at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence’s job networking event, Job at First Bite. The event, in Sydney, was about finding ways to partner for sustainable employment, and the companies attending included Stockland, Fresh Catering, Harry’s Cafe, Park Cafe on Chalmers, Clem’s Chicken, Gardiners Lodge, Sodexo and Compass. Over a lunch prepared by chefs Mat Cribb, Jaye Tyrrell and some of the Job Ready team, 10 job offers were made and future commitments locked in.

The NCIE’s Job Ready program, which offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the Certificate II in Hospitality, is led by Aunty Beryl Van-Oploo and Mat Cribb. The program is designed to support graduates for many years after they finish the course.

“Many of our students are facing so many challenges and I’m privileged to be able to support all participants and be surrounded by them here today,” Aunty Beryl said.

“Job Ready trains 60 people every year and assists them into employment, and we keep in touch with graduates from many years ago.

“Sometimes it takes more than an eight-week course to assist someone into employment. The mentoring and support we offer always goes above and beyond what a normal training centre would offer.”

One of the first graduates, in 2006, was Bundjalung and Wiradjuri woman Lisa Mundine, who now runs her own business.

“The course was more than just about learning skills; we were encouraged to think about other industries, and given help to go on and keep going,” she said.

“I want to work with my people, help our mob, and everyone here has the same goal.”
NCIE chief executive Kirstie Parker said the next Job Ready course at the NCIE starts next month.

“Job Ready gives young people the confidence to realise their full potential and gives them the tools to pave the way to a successful career,” she said.

“We’re so proud of the achievements of the graduates; the program has shown to be an asset to both the young people and their communities.”

Hero’s star in short films

Story courtesy the Koori Mail

TO celebrate NAIDOC Week, national not-for-profit Show Me The Way (SMTW) launched the DVD My Story Matters at the State Library of NSW.

The DVD features six short films showcasing unsung heroes in Indigenous communities, which were created by First Nations students during SMTW film workshops.

Bundjalung man and SMTW chair Wayne McEwen said over the past 11 years, the organisation had helped make more than 50 films, which are held by the State Library.

“We really encourage schools and libraries to access the stories,” he said. 

“They are about people in community as role models and mentors, and the films are produced by school kids. They narrate them and hone their skills in production.

“Our mob can relate to stuff visually. We played a couple of videos the other day at the launch and everyone was excited by the visual aspect.”

The Show Me The Way program empowers Aboriginal students to stay at school and study while remaining culturally relevant. Students learn to see the relevance of education while being mentored by workplace role models.

“The students can develop their career and ask questions and get advice,” Mr McEwen said. “They find a lot of personal growth and can continue in business if that’s their passion. Learning becomes a two way journey for the mentor and the student.

“Some of the learning partners involved with the program have conversations about their own mistakes with the young people and help them at the in start of career. They talk about education, education, life and work, dispelling myths around gender.”

Noonuccal woman Tiarnah Class, a SMTW graduate who now works with Westpac, spoke of how the program had changed her life. 

“In 2011 and 2012, I participated in the Show Me The Way program doing a school based traineeship with Westpac,” she said. “It helped me because it’s not every day young Indigenous people get the opportunity to get traineeships in banks or traineeships at all.

“During the program, I was supported every step of the way. Weekly, I had one-on-one time with a Westpac mentor to progress my skills within the bank and the consistent guidance and knowledge about our identities and our Aboriginal backgrounds.”

Mr McEwan said Show Me The Way is funded by donations and hoped that sales of the DVDs through libraries will help to fund future programs. 

Lucinda a high achiever

Story courtesy the Koori Mail

Gunggari woman Lucinda Colbert has been recognised for her work during Year 12 at the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) Achievement Awards, held in Brisbane.

Ms Colbert received the award for Highest Achievement by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student.

The former Forest Lake State High School student said she was surprised when she received her results.

“My mum actually found out first,” she told the Koori Mail.

“I was doing medical training in Poland at the time and I got a message from Mum telling me I’d got the award.

“I was excited. I’d felt so honoured to have been recognised, but it was also overwhelming. I don’t think it really hit me until I got home.”

Ms Colbert is currently on a gap year, but is planning to go to Melbourne University to study medicine in 2019.

She said she was inspired to study medicine after she saw her grandfather battle asbestosis.

“We watched him get worse but we also saw him dedicate his life to raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos in society,” she said.

“Nan learnt to look after him so he could stay at home. The whole family was involved in taking care of him.

“That was our life for a long time, but I also watched the nurses and the doctors and what a difference they made, and that’s the main thing that made me want to study medicine.”

The QCE Awards are sponsored by Bond University, Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Queensland and University of Southern Queensland.

Team looks to future

Story courtesy Koori Mail

A Charles Darwin University research team has proposed a set of three recommendations members say should inform Indigenoushigher education policy.

The team made the recommendations after examining the history of Indigenous higher education in the Northern Territory 

Indigenous Leadership director Wendy Ludwig was a major contributor to the ‘NT Indigenous Higher Education Policy Review’, which examined the effectiveness of policies dating back more than 60 years.

“Essentially we wanted to identify which policies worked and which ones didn’t from Australia’s early policy approaches of assimilation and self-determination, through to today’s outcomes-oriented approaches,” she said.

“This was in response to recognition of decades of research and program evaluations, and the persistent call from Indigenous advocates for the need to learn from history.”

Dr Ludwig said the recommendations were targeted at government and the tertiary sector. They are:

l that the Australian Government establishes and funds an independent National Indigenous Education Committee to consult and provide specialist advice to government on matters relating to Indigenous education at all levels;

l that the NT Government establishes and funds an independent NT Indigenous Education Consultative Group to provide specialist advice to the NT Minister for Education on all sectors of Indigenous education;

l and that CDU and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) explore opportunities to collaborate more effectively, particularly in the field of research.

“We would like to see a greater Indigenous voice in the development of a forward-thinking policy framework that can drive change, and which coordinates investment and research,” Dr Ludwig said.

She said an exploration of Indigenous perspectives of “success” was one of the key aspects of the team’s research.

“We explored how these perspectives related to definitions of success within policy and how these evolved over time,” she said.

“Many of the quantifiable metrics common in policy represent only part of the story; there are other community-focused outcomes that are just as important.

“Clearly the disparity has served as a barrier to the development of genuine partnerships between governments and Indigenous groups and communities in higher education policy reform.”

Dr Ludwig said the review was carried out by CDU’s Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership in collaboration with BIITE.

It is available HERE

Story courtesy the Koori Mail

Story courtesy the Koori Mail

FOUR young people have just graduated from the University of Southern Queensland’sIndigenous Trainee program.Hannah Ward, Karlee Germon-Peterson, Kiara Taylor and Joshua Tribe spent last year building their skills and knowledge at the Toowoomba-based university.It was part of USQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Career Development and Employment Strategy, which aims to attract, recruit and retain Indigenous people to academic and professional positions.Ms Ward, a Kunja woman, praised the program“I’ve spent the past year as an Indigenous Trainee at USQ and I can’t tell you how much it has meant, not only to me, but to our people,” she said.

USQ vice-chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie congratulated the trainees graduating from the program.“USQ is committed to closing the gap in training, education and employment outcomes between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people and by improving educational outcomes we can contribute to closing the employment gap,” she said.USQ Indigenous employment officer Sharron Jackson said the 2017 trainees had every reason to be proud.“They have worked very hard and demonstrated great professionalism and commitment,” she said.

“The traineeship program is a great success with indicators being that the majority of its graduates have ventured into further education or employment.”

USQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traineeship program graduates, from left, Joshua Tribe, Karlee Germon-Peterson, Kiara Taylor and Hannah Ward.