Attending school & completing school

Achieving against the odds

Six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from Darwin Correctional Precinct successfully graduated in Certificate II Indigenous Environmental Health recently.

Students and staff members from Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and Northern Territory Department Correctional Services (NTDCS) gathered to share the graduation ceremony at the J-Block facility at Berrimah Correctional Centre Darwin, to celebrate the achievements of the students.

For the graduation ceremony the women designed all the artwork for the invitation cards and graduation handout. They also prepared individual speeches for a response at the graduation ceremony.

Education and employment story

Pictured: from left to right, Indigenous student Roseabelle, Batchelor Institute Trainer Tony Wehr, Indigenous student Beryl and Northern Territory Department of Correctional Services Acting Senior Education Officer Lara Enever.

One student’s response highlighted the importance of the training and positive benefits that come from passing down the knowledge to their children, families and communities.

“Hello ladies and gentlemen, my name is Beryl and I’m from Kalkaringi, Wave Hill community but have been living at Palmerston…The things that I have learnt are really important for me and I would like to do more training when I get released,” she said.

“It’s time for me to forget about Palmerston, go back to my community and help my people make Kalkaringi a clean healthy environment – a better place to be.

“I want to start a new future for myself, so Batchelor Institute here I come.”

The women appreciated the sense of achievement at the end of the program. Most of all, they were excited about sharing their achievements with their family members at the graduation ceremony.

The J-Block Women’s Training Program has been a successful partnership between NT Department Correctional Services (NTDCS) and Batchelor Institute. In late 2013 personnel from NTDCS Prisoner Services Education and from the Batchelor Institute VET Division met to design and develop a training program to address the training and educational needs for the women in J-Block at Berrimah Correctional Centre Darwin.

Eleven women initially enrolled to participate in the six months training program in Certificate II Indigenous Environmental Health from January to June 2014. Six women completed the training and attended the graduation ceremony at J-Block.

The training also provided the candidates with a foundation to pursue furtherstudies/training and employment opportunities in health related fields.

The core group of women who graduated formed a cohesive supportive group over the six months and maintained a high level of motivation and enthusiasm.

Batchelor Institute trainer Tony Wehr is proud of the women’s achievements.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with the women as individuals and collectively as a successful training group. This program demonstrates the women’s willingness and ability to undertake meaningful training and education programs,” he says.

“I hope this first successful nationally accredited training program paves the way for future DCS and Batchelor Institute partnerships to address the training/employment needs for the female inmates at the Berrimah Correctional Centre.”


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