New internship program to enhance employment prospects of Aboriginal students

Date: 28/08/2009

The University of Western Sydney and the state's peak Aboriginal Affairs body, the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, have joined forces in an innovative initiative aimed at enhancing the skills and employment prospects of Aboriginal students.

The NSWALC Aboriginal Student Internship Program will see Aboriginal students from the University of Western Sydney work within NSWALC for up to six months in a bid to boost their chances of successful long-term employment in relevant professions.

The Program was officially launched in Sydney during an historic meeting between the University of Western Sydney and NSWALC's Governing Council.

In announcing the initiative, NSWALC's Chairperson, Bev Manton, and the University of Western Sydney's Director of Indigenous Employment and Engagement, Ms Melissa Williams, highlighted the rewards for both organisations in assisting Aboriginal students to gain access to appropriate education and training and sustainable employment.

"Within NSWALC, students will gain valuable on-the-job training and skills in a variety of disciplines relating to Aboriginal rights such as policy and research, land management, social services and self-determination," says Ms Manton.

"We hope to also raise awareness amongst Aboriginal students about NSWALC and the NSW Land Council network, and encourage them to consider working within the Land Council system once they graduate.

"The network needs to seek and retain young professional and committed people."

Ms Williams says the University is delighted to be involved with the project.

"UWS welcomes the opportunity to partner with the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council on this innovative initiative. The program offers UWS interns a unique opportunity to work on community-based projects combining business acumen with cultural engagement," says Ms Williams.

"The skills acquired will help the interns realise their career ambitions, and provide strong foundations for this next generation of leaders."

The first two student interns are Jamie Lee Walker, who is studying Business and Commerce and Danielle Teo, who is completing a Bachelor of Community Welfare degree. Both students live in Western Sydney.

Although initially being run as a pilot for final year students from the University of Western Sydney, the program will be evaluated with a view to expanding it in future years.

Ms Manton says the Program will engage up to 4 Aboriginal students this year and will build on another education initiatives established by NSWALC over the last two years.

"NSWALC believes firmly that this is another significant initiative, one that is a logical extension of its own $30m dollar Education Endowment Fund which in two years has offered financial scholarships to more than 230 Aboriginal students across NSW," she says.



Media Officer

Danielle Roddick
02 9678 7086, 0414 308 701