Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Indigenous teens embrace Shepparton program

Indigenous students from across Australia have been hosted in Shepparton to participate in further education.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK April 28, 2014 3:44am

Indigenous Youth Mobility Program's Natasha Mitchell, Harry Miaoudis, JJ Metzger and Brandon Baginski.

Starting a new life in Shepparton has opened up a world of opportunities for the Indigenous Youth Mobility Program’s Natasha Mitchell, Harry Miaoudis, JJ Metzger and Brandon Baginski.

The program helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians move away from their homes in remote or rural communities to participate in further education elsewhere.

During the past seven years, Shepparton has hosted Indigenous students from every state and territory in Australia.

The program provides safe and supported accommodation at Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE’s William Orr campus and education and training at the University of Melbourne’s Academy of Sport and Health.

Also included are mentors, gym passes, work placements, literacy and numeracy support and social activities.

Program co-ordinator Jacinta Traianidis said her main prerogative was to create more opportunities for the participants.

‘‘They get their skills and then they take them back home,’’ Mrs Traianidis said.

‘‘Shepparton’s been really lucky to host these kids because it enriches our community.’’

Mrs Traiandis said the participants also benefited from Shepparton’s highly connected and supportive Indigenous community.

Each of them is encouraged to play sport and many of them play football or netball for Rumbalara Football Netball Club.

‘‘The big part for them is that our community is so strong here — we’ve been able to take them on and embrace them and involve them,’’ she said.

‘‘Having that cultural exchange is really lovely.’’

Mrs Traiandis said the Shepparton program had the potential to reach out to young people across Australia.

‘‘They go away and their cousins might see them going on a plane, succeeding, and that spurs them on,’’ she said.

‘‘It encourages their whole community to succeed.’’

For more stories on the Indigenous Youth Mobility Program, see today’s News.

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