At South Coast NRM, we were ecstatic when we learned the theme for NAIDOC 2021: Heal Country. It resonated with us because looking after the land is part of what we try to do every day. But it’s more than that.

The Traditional Custodians recognise everyone’s responsibility to care for Country. We’re proud of the programs we’ve developed in partnership with local Noongar Elders and community members that encourage Aboriginal young people to do just that. Aboriginal School Based Traineeships provide pathways into employment in the environmental sector — helping young people heal country and create a meaningful career path.

Learning on Country

In partnership with ATC Worksmart, South Coast NRM is working hard to engage Aboriginal young people into school based traineeships. The program is designed to provide pathways to employment in conservation, but we’re realistic about the number of job opportunities in the sector in the Great Southern. That’s why we give students a choice between two programs:

Regardless of which program they choose, students finish up with a Cert II as well as two years of experience in the industry — which looks great on a resume!

Meet Ashleigh Woods

She’s been part of our South Coast NRM family for years now. Before applying for her school based traineeship, she’d been part of the   program for three years. Her relationship with staff at South Coast NRM, made the application and interview process less daunting for Ashleigh.

These days, Ashleigh is in Year 12 at North Albany SHS. She’s completed her Cert II and has started work on a Cert III in Business, which is a remarkable achievement. Not only that, Ashleigh won the NAIDOC 2021 Academic Achievement Award at her high school. Her hard work and connection to her community mean that Ashleigh’s future is bright — a career of her choice (whether in conservation or another industry) is open to her. Congratulations, Ashleigh!

Meet Tyler Roberts

A year 11 student at Albany Senior High School, Tyler is well on his way to completing his Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management ahead of schedule. This means that he, too, will have the opportunity of commencing his Cert III before he graduates from Year 12.

Tyler’s keen interest in conservation means he’s well placed to take advantage of the WA Government’s Aboriginal Ranger Program. Led by Aboriginal community organisations with support from the Parks and Wildlife Service, the program is about empowering Aboriginal communities to heal country and protect the environment in culturally appropriate ways.

We hope that over the next few years we will see an increase in job opportunities for Aboriginal rangers, as well as training and community development roles for Aboriginal people.

By the time Tyler finishes High School, he’ll not only have his Cert II under his belt, but his two years of experience in conservation will mean he’s well placed to find a fulfilling job in his industry.

Strong learners for strong communities

The Aboriginal School Based Traineeship program is available to year 11 and 12 Aboriginal students who attend high schools in the Great Southern. For more information, contact Karen Herlihy on 9845 8597.