Indigenous students beam with pride over new qualification

[by Jessica Cullen]

CQUniversity graduates Raymond Saltner (left) and Deitmar Wachter proudly show off their Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management. Image: supplied

The Woorabinda community was abuzz with positive affirmations after 18 Indigenous students received their Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management at the town’s first-ever CQUniversity graduation ceremony.

 

The students, who weren't able to cross the stage at last month's CQUniversity Emerald graduation ceremony due to wet weather, gained the qualification as part of the unique Woorabinda Memorial Walk restoration project.

 

Carried out in conjunction with the Woorabinda Pastoral Company, Yoonthalla Services, and the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative, the project involved regenerating a local wetland in Woorabinda and constructing a culturally significant development of the walkway.

 

Surrounded by friends and family, Indigenous Elders and representatives of project partners, students reminisced on their journeys and expressed their excitement for the next phase of their careers.

 

Program graduate Deitmar Wachter said he was extremely grateful for the opportunity to be part of the course.

 

“I have really enjoyed the experiences and knowledge I’ve gained over the past year while completing the course,” he said.

 

“This has helped me gain confidence within myself and everyday tasks, and has opened my vision to see a different path to other opportunities in the future.”

 

Fellow program graduate Raymond Saltner said that by undertaking the course, he was able to better himself for his people, family, and culture.

 

“One day, I will pass my new-found knowledge down to my children, who will one day pass it down to their children,” he said.

 

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this course and all it had to offer.”

 

CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Nick Klomp said it was an absolute privilege to hear from students and celebrate their hard work.

 

“By successfully completing the course, today’s graduating cohort can now confidentially enter the conservation and land management industry and follow their passion for the natural environment,” Prof Klomp said.

 

“I’m honoured to welcome the 18 graduates to our rapidly-growing network of alumni and wish them every success in their future endeavours.”

 

CQUniversity Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) and BHP Chair in Indigenous Engagement, Professor Adrian Miller said CQUniversity would continue to support the pathway from education and training to employment through the Woorabinda education/enterprise/research hubs.

 

“In August 2019, CQUniversity committed to working with the Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council (WASC) and local service providers to improve employment and training opportunities for its residents,” Prof Miller said.

 

“The delivery of a Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management qualification was one of the first projects introduced. Future projects include developing workshops for emerging artists and transforming the WASC-owned Duaringa Hall to an arts and tourism hub.”

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