Indigenous students get a taste of uni 


Leon Stainer demonstrates print making techniques to the students

Over 180 Indigenous students and support staff from high schools around the Territory got a taste of tertiary and vocational education when they visited the Charles Darwin University (CDU) Casuarina campus as part of the ‘Taste of Uni’ program held on 21 and 22 August.

Indigenous students from years 9 to 12 traveled from Kununurra District High School, Tennant Creek High School, Jabiru Area School, O’Loughlin College, Kormilda College, Marrara Christian College, Nightcliff, Dripstone and Sanderson High Schools to CDU’s Casuarina campus to undertake ‘tasters’ in higher education and vocational subjects.

Areas of study available to students included Psychology, Horticulture, Law, Business, Art/Printmaking, Education, Music, Nursing, Plumbing, Aquaculture, Automotive, Tourism, Hairdressing, Cookery, Engineering, Indigenous Studies, Sports Science, Community Services & Social Work and Architecture & Design.

Organised by the Indigenous Academic Support Unit (IASU), the Taste of Uni program is part of CDU’s commitment to increasing Indigenous enrolments at the University and offers students educational and career pathways through participation in vocational and technical education (VTE) and higher education courses.

Coordinator of the Indigenous Academic Support Unit, Roz Angeles, welcomed the students with her opening address on day one and communicated the opportunities available.

“The Taste of Uni program provides opportunities for students, staff and course lecturers to interact and in that process highlight the many opportunities available to students here at CDU,” Roz explained.

“The program emphasises the choices we can offer to young Indigenous students through a friendly, culturally safe and supportive environment,” she said.

The IASU staff introduced themselves to the students, each providing a brief snapshot of their life, qualifications, career experiences and motivations.

The day two welcome was provided by the Dean, Indigenous Research and Education, Professor Bin-Sallik, who praised students for making the decision to attend Taste of Uni.

“It is important that you make your own decisions about what you want to do,” Professor said. “Sometimes those decisions may be right, sometimes they may not work out as well as you planned, but those situations present good opportunities for learning, and being able to learn from your mistakes is the best way forward.”

Professor Bin-Sallik further explained that self motivation is the key to achieving success in academic studies. “I encourage you to look beyond what is happening right now and focus on your future. You do not have to be a high achiever to gain entry into university, but you do need to commit to producing positive personal outcomes. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.”

Individual planning sessions for the Year 12 students were provided with an emphasis on scholarships, cadetships and other support options available for Indigenous students.