TAMWORTH has welcomed the state’s fourth and final Opportunity Hub yesterday, which aims to make it easier for Aboriginal students to find work and study opportunities.
The Opportunity Hub at the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council on Marius St will be a one-stop shop for students and young people to get in touch with employment, mentorship, traineeship, scholarship and volunteering opportunities.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Victor Dominello and member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson launched the initiative, the last one to be opened in the state, which they said would help
create pathways to help students and young people realise their dreams.
“It’s about empowering Aboriginal school students by offering them opportunities to build up their job skills, experience and aspirations from a young age,” Mr Dominello said.
“If an Aboriginal student from Tamworth dreams of becoming a maths teacher, lawyer, hairdresser or plumber, we want to foster this ambition and support them to realise it.”
He said this was something developed in partnership with Aboriginal elders, and the government had learned it needed to foster relationships earlier with children than midway through high school.
“We need to start in years 5 and 6 and ask them what they would like to do and where they would like to go,” Mr Dominello said.
He said links with mentoring and employers could then be forged and show students how they could make their dreams a reality.
“You’re not just our future, you’re our present,” Mr Dominello said.
“There are 1000 Aboriginal students from years 5 to 12 across 33 primary and secondary schools in the region, and that is a powerful force for change and a wonderful opportunity for the whole area. You have every chance of making this a great success.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council had already begun forging partnerships with employers and NGOs to help students find tertiary education and job opportunities.
“We want to encourage more Aboriginal students to complete high school and, through this initiative, we are providing additional support and incentives to transition into work,” he said.
Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive officer Fiona Snape said they wanted to change lives by providing inspiration through mentorship and directing them towards jobs and opportunities.
Opportunity hubs have also been established in Dubbo, Campbelltown and Singleton.