Poster Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Pathways program (#201)

Coralie Achterberg 1 , Linda Quall 1
  1. Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, NT, Australia

The Menzies Pathways Program was designed to practically support teachers and schools in their aspiration to have Indigenous students go on to tertiary education and employment where little opportunity is available in remote communities. Inspiring these students to think about their career goals and have a positive reason to stay in school. Menzies successfully received funding to run its first program in 2015. The week long program brought Indigenous students to Darwin to experience a journey immersing them in health, science and research while learning about the possible career pathways available at Menzies School of Health Research, Royal Darwin Hospital, Charles Darwin University and Flinders University NT Medical School. They were provided with the opportunities to talk and interact with professionals sharing their stories, knowledge and expertise about where they came from, what they do and how they got there. They also participated in interactive activities.

The students came from various communities such as Elcho Island, Alice Springs and Kormilda College (Elcho Island, Yirrkala, Goulbourn Island and Pigeon Hole).

The aim of the Menzies Pathways Program is to improve Indigenous health through education and opportunities for young people from remote communities. High school students from remote communities will spend a week in Darwin learning about pathways into a career in health, science and research.

Twelve Indigenous youths gained an insight into university life and employment. They experienced what it is like to go to work or university, had access to Indigenous role models, experienced a bush walk and talk and worked with dedicated and experienced professionals gaining an understanding of Indigenous health. The networked with other Indigenous students and were informed of the various options and pathways that lead to a rewarding career in the health sector.

Feedback indicates that this experience did inspire students to not only complete their secondary school education but to also consider a tertiary education and career in health or science. Two of the students had already considered careers in nursing and midwifery and the Pathways Program has subsequently exposed them to additional options available.