Release type: Media Release


Abergowrie - In community, by community, for community: preparing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students for life beyond school

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews has launched a new video series showcasing innovative education and training programs being run nation-wide helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary students successfully transition from school to work and study.

St Teresa’s College in Abergowrie, Far North Queensland caters for students from 50 remote Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory and throughout Queensland, including the Torres Strait Islands, and is training them in skills for jobs in local business and industry like manufacturing, defence and agriculture.

“This unique school community brings a diversity of cultures together and the shared focus on educational outcomes can lead to apprenticeships and further training after school. Community relationships, consultation and leadership underpin this successful transition program,” said Minister Andrews.

In addition, William Ross State High School in Townsville is also achieving great results with a program to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers and support teachers in Queensland schools.

Minister Andrews said the Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP), running since 1990, is supported by the Queensland Department of Education and Training in partnership with TAFE Queensland North and James Cook University.

“The critical success factor is the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates in schools,” Minister Andrews said.

“Graduates of RATEP have gone onto be principals and hold positions in other school leadership roles and the program has over 100 graduates holding a Bachelor of Education.

“Currently, 120 students from William Ross are enrolled in TAFE and more than 50 students at James Cook University—which is an outstanding success indicator.”

The video series show some best practice examples of schools, employers and community working collaboratively to transform lives and provide businesses with the skilled workforce they need for future growth.

“It is a great example of local schools, local training organisations and businesses, and local communities working together to make the most of opportunities for local students.

“I am thrilled to see programs delivered in community by community for community making a real difference to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and delivering real training for real careers.

“The Government is absolutely committed to maintaining a strong VET sector that delivers the best outcomes for students and supports businesses with a properly skills workforce,” Minister Andrews said.

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Fast facts:

  • Government has allocated around $3 billion for VET in 2018–19.

  • Includes $1.8 billion in payments to states and territories through the Skilling Australians Fund.

  • Includes $1.2 billion for the Australian Government’s own programs, such as Australia Apprenticeship Incentives Program, and Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers.

  • The National Career Education Strategy is under development.