by Michael Owen
Sharon Dingaman, Teresita Lewis from Amata school. Image: supplied
Students on remote APY Lands to graduate
A trade training centre in the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, in South Australia’s far northwest, has passed 1200 enrolments since it was established seven years ago.
In what has become an annual celebration of success, around 20 indigenous students will graduate on Wednesday, November 13 with industry standard certificates in a special ceremony at the training centre at Umuwa, about 50km south of the Northern Territory border.
Among those celebrating special achievements this year is Sylvanna Fraser, who completed a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, in what is the first “trade level” qualification to be achieved through the centre.
Students from Docker River (Kaltukatjara), a remote indigenous community southwest of Alice Springs, participated in courses in 2019 for the first time with five students due to graduate on November 13.
Since the centre’s opening on November 5 in 2012, individuals including school students and adult community members have enrolled in 2562 courses, with 241 certificates achieved.
Centre Principal Manager Mark Connelly said that given there were around 2500 people on the APY Lands, about 50 per cent of the population have accessed the centre, and almost 100 per cent of the eligible population have undergone some form of training.
“For school students, the centre provides exposure and access to Vocational Education and Training which is a legitimate pathway to gaining the SACE, as well as providing entry level training for students who, once assessed as competent, have certification and skills that employers are seeking,” Mr Connelly said.
“Students from the APY Lands have demonstrated not just the required skills but the tenacity, persistence, patience and willingness to return multiple times to develop skills.”
The centre has its own accommodation wing, allowing students to access nationally accredited vocational education and training without having to leave country and travel to other regional centres or cities thousands of kilometres away.
This year’s graduation will include excellence awards for high-achieving school students in fields such as construction, hospitality and automotive training. The centre also offers training in engineering, rural operations, and landscaping and horticulture.
The centre has a major hospitality training area. Students undergo project-based hospitality training where real life experiences and catering provide opportunity to both develop and showcase skills.
A body corporate constituted by the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act 1981 (SA)
Earlier this month, teams of three hospitality students from different APY communities competed in a “Masterchef-style” cook-off in which they prepared, cooked and presented 15 serves of a three-course meal to an invited audience and three judges.
Indulkana School won the overall prize with Ernabella School taking out the People’s Choice Award.
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