Five Aboriginal students from regional South Australia are on the road to a university degree after becoming the first people to successfully complete UniSA’s Indigenous Participation Pathway program.
Completion ceremonies were held in Mount Gambier and Port Lincoln over the past month to celebrate their achievement.
The five graduating students began the 18-month program in 2016, which is modelled on UniSA’s Foundation Studies and can lead to entry into a UniSA degree (grade point average dependent).
For Mount Gambier graduating students Laura Long and Janeth Andrews, the completion of the course is a step towards a new career. Both Laura and Janeth have been accepted into a Bachelor of Social Science Program next year.
Laura aims to become a social worker in her community as does Janeth who wants to focus on working with Aboriginal children.
In Port Lincoln, graduates Kashay Mahomed, Veda Betts and Delise Sampson also intend to complete further study at UniSA.
Veda Betts, a respected elder in the Port Lincoln community, has been a strong role model for her peers. She hopes to share her knowledge and continue on her learning journey by undertaking a Bachelor of Arts Program (Aboriginal Studies and Australian Culture).
“Learning is endless and there are no limits,” she said.
“Every day I discover new things and I believe that everyone can achieve their dreams.”
Veda has been achieving her dreams alongside her granddaughter, Delise Sampson, who hopes to become a psychologist in Port Lincoln.
During her speech at the completion ceremony, Delise said that studying has opened her eyes.
Fellow Port Lincoln graduate Kashay Mahomed is a proud Adnyamathanha woman from the Flinders Ranges and is the youngest to complete the course at 21-years-old.
She has already begun a Bachelor of Business Program and hopes to combine her passion for business and visual arts to forge a career in visual arts administration, leadership and management; as well as providing motivation for others.
“Using my own experience in the program, I’d like to influence others to go on to further their education and attend university one day so they can find out how great it really is,” Kashay says.
The graduating students have undertaken nine courses over the past year-and-a-half, learning to develop academic and digital literacy skills, research and communication, as well as numeracy and discipline-specific knowledge.
While many of the courses in the Indigenous Participation Pathway program (which is being renamed the Aboriginal Pathways Program) are also offered in the Foundation Studies Program, three have been developed specifically for the program; Aboriginal Knowledges, Learning and Culture; Land Management; and Building Academic Success.
Students work in a mixed delivery of intensive all-day classes and weekly tutorials.
The program is offered in Port Lincoln and Mount Gambier as well as Whyalla and Ceduna, with the next intake in early 2018.