05 February 2016

Trevor Ritchie graduated from UniSA in 2014 to become the state's first recognised Aboriginal Occupational Therapist. UniSA hopes its new Indigenous Participation Pathway Program will help more young Indigenous Australians to fulfill their career dreams. Thirty-five Indigenous students from rural and remote communities are on track to fulfil their dreams of becoming nurses, physiotherapists, lawyers and more, thanks to UniSA’s new Indigenous Participation Pathway Program.

The students – aged from 18 to 73 – have enrolled in the new program being taught out of Ceduna, Port Lincoln, Mount Gambier and Whyalla.

The program is modelled on UniSA’s successful Foundation Studies program and leads to entry into a university degree or a UniSA College diploma program.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says UniSA is working hard to further strengthen its position as the ‘University of Choice’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South Australia and beyond.

“Through both our Crossing the Horizon strategic plan and our Reconciliation Action Plan, we aim to provide a pathway for knowledge transfer to Indigenous communities in rural and remote South Australia,” Prof Lloyd says.

“I’m personally quite excited about this new program and what it can do to help fulfil the dreams of Indigenous people in rural and remote communities. I wish the students all the best with their studies and look forward to hearing about their achievements in the years to come.”

UniSA College Head Mr Stephen Dowdy says the 35 students are coming from regions up to 150kms away from their nearest teaching centre to learn the skills required for successful university study.

“The program is delivered through a mix of intensive teaching weeks in the regional centre, with local tutor and program coordinator support provided to students at home between these weeks,” Mr Dowdy says.

“The program covers courses including information skills, critical literacy, computing, Aboriginal Knowledge, academic communication and much more, and ends with a week spent at the University’s Mawson Lakes campus to help transition the students to on-campus university life.”

UniSA College Deputy Head Associate Professor Sharron King says the new program extends existing work by UniSA to broaden educational outcomes for rural and remote Indigenous communities.

“UniSA has been training students from the APY Lands to become independent classroom teachers in their own community schools and, through this existing work, we became aware of many Anangu students’ aspirations to work in other professions than teaching in their own communities,” Assoc Prof King says.

“The Indigenous Participation Pathway Program will create a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to study and develop in their own communities and move towards the career of their choice.”

UniSA’s Indigenous Participation Pathway Program is free. For more information, click here.

Media Contact Kelly Stone office (08) 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832 email Kelly.stone@unisa.edu.au

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