Release type: Media Release


Nhulunbuy - 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 MP 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, including in the Northern Territory.

In Nhulunbuy High School in East Arnhem Land, one of the most remote schools in Australia, a targeted, flexible vocational education and training program is providing students with training that will help them get jobs at home in their own communities, in businesses and industries that need a local skilled workforce to thrive.

“I am very impressed with this program and the range of other innovative, grassroots, skills-based initiatives that are producing important results in regional areas,” Minister Andrews said.

“At Nhulunbuy High, students who travel to school by boat from remote places like Elcho Island and Milingimbi can log sea hours that count toward their course requirements, while building their knowledge of traditional culture and practices.

“This kind of creative, tailored training is what a high quality VET sector is all about.

“An important part of this program is that students are also taught about culture and identity and learn a lot about themselves and their families, building confidence and cultural competence in the students.”

In this and other programs being showcased, students are being trained in skills that will benefit the community, and that also have a real pathway to local work. Its win-win, and part of the Government’s vision for the reinvigorated VET sector - real skills for real careers.

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,” Minister Andrews said.

For more information about this and other supporting resources visit

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.