Two Indigenous students from the Northern Territory travelled to Melbourne for the first time to accept their awards at the recent Swinburne Apprentice of the Year Awards celebration.
Currently studying a Certificate III in Remote Area Building, Repairs and Maintenance, Jason Wanambi and Jasper Wanybarrnga live in the remote communities of Millingimbi and Ramingining, 500 kilometres east of Darwin.
Mr Wanambi and Mr Wanybarrnga were each presented with a Learning and Training Leadership Award in recognition of their hard work and dedication to trade training and leadership within their community.
During their stay, the pair visited the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Imperial Hotel, Eureka Sky Deck and the Croydon and Wantirna campuses.
One of the highlights for Mr Wanambi was his time at the Croydon campus, learning and being able to demonstrate the skills of bricklaying and stair fabrication.
“Our students were impressed by Jason and Jasper’s skills. Even our top bricklaying apprentices found it hard to keep up with them,” says Terry McEvoy from Swinburne’s Department of Trades & Engineering Technology.
Mr McEvoy speaks highly of both students, saying they are leaders in their community who have a lot of pride in their work.
“These men are the next generation of community leaders. They are highly respected by the people of Millingimbi and Ramingining. They recognise the role of education in developing a strong local economy and supporting local people into sustainable, long-term employment,” says Mr McEvoy.
The qualification the students are currently undertaking has grown from the humble Doors 2 Jobs program that was successfully piloted in 2014, to now a large-scale operation creating employment and boasting 300 enrolments.
As part of the program, Jason and Jasper gained skills in building headstones, operating hand tools, making bed frames, fitting doors, door handles and locks, and general maintenance, all of which contributes to supporting their communities.
“When I finish my apprenticeship, I’d like to be a teacher so I can pass on the skills I’ve learned to the younger people in my community,” says Mr Wanambi.