Adopt-A-School project bringing Indigenous students closer to work 

Campus administrator Di Underwood examining the recently signed MOU with YouthTrax manager Coralie Boyd

Charles Darwin University (CDU) Alice Springs has agreed to join the Adopt-A-Schools project, an initiative providing Indigenous students with extensive work experience placement.

CDU and local community partnership provider, YouthTraX, have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding. CDU will offer three month work placements throughout 2007 to interested Indigenous high school students sourced by YouthTraX.

The placement forms part of the University’s Indigenous work experience program, an initiative of CDU Vice Chancellor Professor Helen Garnett. Trial placements are now occurring at the Palmerston and Casuarina campuses.

The project aims to give the students a broad insight into the diverse roles and responsibilities within a large organisation. The students will be able to select from 15 key areas of the University and can work with grounds people, administration, technical and management staff.

Di Underwood, campus administrator, said CDU wants to provide students with an entry point into business and industry in Alice Springs.

‘It’s about showing them how large organisations work and how the work of individuals contributes to the bigger picture,’ she said. ‘Whether students choose to work here or not, the organisation will add a lot of depth to the choices of young Indigenous people.’

YouthTraX manager, Coralie Boyd, said it was important for students to see the University as an industry and potential employer.

‘One of the really important aspects of this program is to show students what happens behind the scenes of a large organisation,’ she said.

Coralie highlighted the success of a similar project between students from Yipirinya School and Alice Springs Desert Park.

‘These kids were very enthusiastic and it was a great pleasure to see them gain opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have had,’ she said. ‘And in the process their confidence and understanding of the world of work really grew.’

The Adopt-A-School project is an Australian Government initiative. YouthTraX, a division of Group Training Northern Territory, is working with all schools across the central region to facilitate similar projects that give students exposure to different workplace environments.