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Nirimba Aboriginal Student Conference focuses on Career Path Planning and Success

The Aboriginal Student Conference has become a regular event on the Nirimba Education Precinct over recent years. The theme for this year was well developed by the Keynote speaker Jeff Dunn – Western Sydney University The College Indigenous Project Officer, who explored the 2014 conference theme Pathway to Success, by illustrating from his own journey and also from that of others whom he had mentored over the years and who were present on the day. The purpose of the conference is to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ success and to inspire participants to find their own pathway to success by considering a range of vocations and options for further study.

The Conference was opened by Mr Phil Smith – Cooperating Principal of St John Paul II Catholic College and member of the Nirimba Education Precinct Board.

Uncle Greg, as Campus Elder then provided an official “Welcome to Country”. We were fortunate that Uncle Greg was able to stay with us for the day as a part of the mentors’ team, and that in addition, he was able to demonstrate Aboriginal wood carving throughout the day.

The conference was organised by the NEP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Working Group. This is a dedicated group of educationists from the four Precinct partners, which is chaired by Robert Feeney.

Four workshop sessions and a mentor session followed the keynote address. Each student present was able to attend each workshop. There were speakers from: Defence in Canberra; Police; Western Sydney University and The College; and TAFE.

Whilst Year 9 and 10 students from Terra Sancta Schofields campus, and the Nirimba Collegiate group of schools – Quakers Hill, Riverstone and Seven Hills High Schools, have always been participants, the Working Group this year invited students from Blacktown Boys’ and Blacktown Girls’ High Schools, Doonside Technology High School, and St Andrews and St Mark’s Colleges.

The participants and presenters were very positive in their comments about the conference, and recommended a similar format for next year.

Ian Wing
NEP Manager – Educational Development and Planning