Staff from Federation TAFE celebrated the inaugural Central Highlands area Koorie Aspirations Day as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from across the greater Ballarat region were invited to speak with Heads of Centres, Program Managers, Curriculum Quality Leaders and TAFE teachers about what to expect from an apprenticeship and a career in the trade industry.
Organised by the Department of Education and Training (DET) in partnership with Federation University’s Aboriginal Education Centre (AEC), Aspirations Day was not only an opportunity for Indigenous students to find out about future career and educational pathways but an opportunity to come together to form connections with each other, to celebrate culture and be strengthened and empowered.
Kathrine Clarke, Aboriginal Student Success Officer, AEC said, "The Department of Education and Training wanted to collaborate and bring together Koorie students from different high schools. It’s an opportunity for them to get to know each other, but also get a chance to explore industries and find out what's out there for their future."
Manager of the AEC, Katrina Beer said "Aspirations Day is about encouraging our youth and our young ones to dream about what their future looks like. Quite often in the community we say, ‘You can't be what you can't see’. But we want to flip that and say, ‘If you can't see it, then you must be it’."
It is hoped the event will evolve into an annual celebration for students to explore who they are and what they aspire to be.
Organiser of the event, Deb Clark, Koorie Education Coordinator from the Department of Education and Training said, "We're looking at July next year to have another one so we can really celebrate and recognise the year 12 students who are completing. When kids see that other students are succeeding and seeing their pathway to careers beyond school there's more of a chance they’ll stay in education. That's what all the people here are offering them - conversations about pathways for them to recognise themselves in and where they can go, from free TAFE to the justice system."
Aspirations Day was held at Federation University’s Mt Helen Campus and saw students from years 6 to 11, and teachers, from Ballarat Grammar, Ballarat High School, Bannockburn P-12, Mount Rowan, Phoenix, St Patrick’s College and Woodman’s Hill in attendance.
As well as representatives from Federation and DET, students met with the Victorian Police, the Australian Army, Jobs Victoria, Grampians Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee, the Western Bulldogs, and Treaty for Victoria.