Being the eldest of six children prompted Jessica Laruffa to take on a Bachelor of Education (Pre-service), which she is now continuing with the help of a Northern Territory Government Indigenous Cadetship.
After completing Year 12, Jessica spent a year working in temporary positions in Alice Springs and Sydney before deciding to enrol in further study at Charles Darwin University (CDU) last year.
“I was an assistant to an early childcare teacher and I thought that because I have a large family and I love hanging out with them and answering their questions it might be a good career choice because I actually like doing those things,” Jessica said.
During her first year, Jessica found it a challenge to balance a part-time job with study in order to support herself. She says she was thrilled when Indigenous Academic Support Lecturer Lorraine St Clair told her she could apply for an Indigenous Cadetship with the NT Public Sector.
The cadetship includes payment of HECS fees, a fortnightly allowance while studying, full-time paid employment during semester breaks and permanent employment on successful completion of study.
“There’s a lot more time to think about study and plan and research. When I was working, it was 6am shifts until 2pm and then I’d be stuffed for the rest of the day and I’d want to study but couldn’t.”
Jessica said she’s looking forward to her first work placement under the cadetship, which is likely to be with the NT Department of Employment, Education and Training office in Alice Springs.
“I like finding out about different work places and how they operate,” she said.
Jessica said she chose to study the Bachelor of Education (Pre-service) at CDU because it allowed her to stay close to her family in Alice Springs.
“Even though lots of the units are external at the moment, I have support and the Library and computers here are great,” she said.
Jessica is hoping to incorporate her interest in languages in her studies so she can teach in remote areas of the Northern Territory and eventually use her qualification overseas.
“I’d definitely recommend the cadetship to other people because financially it’s so much help to obtain a computer and books.
“It’s almost like having a steady job. You know you can plan out things instead of having to run around doing casual shifts and not knowing how much you’re going to earn week to week,” Jessica said.
Charles Darwin University’s Alice Springs campus will host a special event during NAIDOC Week in July for young Indigenous women considering further study.
For more information about NT Public Sector Indigenous Cadetships, visit: www.nt.gov.au/dcis/training_dev/entry_level/nicp.shtml