Attending school & completing school

Indigenous high school students from Ipswich get a taste of the future

Story: Careers calling

Deciding what you want to do with yourself when you leave school can be pretty tough. How do you know what you like? What kind of choices are out there? If only you could get a taste of what a job was like before you committed to it.

An initiative funded by the Department of Education, Science and Training, the Health Careers Pathways Project, is giving high school students the chance to do just that.

New hands-on career awareness and vocational education programs are offering Indigenous high school students the opportunity to “taste test” careers in health and aged care, which may then possibly lead them to a school-based traineeship or apprenticeship in this area.

A recent “taste test” saw a group of over 30 Indigenous students from the Ipswich area in Queensland spend two days with local healthcare providers.

“The first day of the program was spent at the local Aboriginal Medical Service,” says Gael Kennedy, Health Careers Pathways Project coordinator. “The students got to learn about what happens in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health training organisation, and they had lots of fun taking apart dummies of human bodies that have removable organs, looking in each others ears with otoscopes and taking each others blood pressure.”

The second day was spent at Ipswich Hospital, where students were greeted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, who talked about how they got into a career in health and discussed what kind of jobs there are within the healthcare industry.

“There are literally hundreds of different types of jobs in health and aged care that people don’t realise are available,” says Gael. “There’s so much more than just being a doctor or a nurse – you can work in any number of positions throughout the hospital, from down in the bowels of the building to the kitchens, wards and other departments. It was great for the students to see the huge array of opportunities that are available to them.”

Students then got to “choose their own adventure”, selecting different areas of the hospital, from the kitchen and basement trades through to physiotherapy, aged care and maternity.

“We were lucky enough to see a tiny Islander baby that had just been born,” says Gael.

Students who’ve taken part in the taste test will be invited to undertake industry placements.

“They’ll be able to do a first aid course, followed by school-based training modules in an area of healthcare that interests them,” says Gael. “This can ultimately lead to a school-based apprenticeship.”

For more information about the Health Careers Pathways Project, contact Gael Kennedy on (02) 9660 3854 or 0403 131 410.

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