ANU Joint Colleges of Science welcomes first Indigenous trainees

Making the transition from school or part-time work to full-time work is a rite of passage for many young Australians, but is not without its challenges.

The transition has been made easier for 19 year old students Rachelle and Tylah, who are the first trainees to participate in the ANU Joint Colleges of Science Indigenous Professional Staff Traineeship Program.

Delivered in partnership with the Australian Training Company (ATC), the program is an initiative of the College’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

“Rachelle and I were with an Indigenous job-seeker agency called Habitat Personnel,” explains Tylah.

“Within a couple of weeks of being with Habitat, Karen from the Australian Training Company (ATC) were looking for people with our skill set, and Habitat referred us on.

“We were interviewed by ANU and were successful, and started the traineeship in May!”

Rachelle and Tylah are six months into the 12-month program, which involves working full-time within the Marketing & Communications team and Research Management team respectively, whilst completing a Certificate III in Business delivered by ATC.

“The certificate is a combination of 12 modules over the course of 12 months.

“Once a month we’ve got a class day where we go in and do some course work. Other than that we get five hours in the office a week where we’re allowed to study and get the coursework done,” said Rachelle. 

They believe it’s the “perfect transition into full-time work.”

“There’s so much support everywhere. Not only are you supported by Karen and Leanne, our trainers at ATC, we also have supervisors here who look after us.”

Aside from learning the ropes of Marketing & Communications and Research Management, they’ve also had the chance to get in touch with their cultural and creative side.

“We’ve been working on an Indigenous art project for David, the General Manager of the College. We’re taking charge of the purchase and installation of local Aboriginal community artwork in all Joint College Administration areas,” said Rachelle.

“It’s been really fun, we got to meet some really interesting people and it was cool to do some research within the community to choose the pieces,” said Tylah.

The certificate, in combination with the traineeship at ANU, has opened their eyes to the range of careers in business.  

“We learn a lot about different types of careers through the course. It’s been good being exposed to marketing, which has definitely given me ideas for what I might like to do in the future. I’m also doing a graphic design course here at ANU, and I think this is an area I’d like to explore, particularly the creative side,” explains Rachelle.  

Tylah agrees.

“We’re young, we’re only just getting started, and I think if we were going to be in any community, I’d want it to be at ANU. I’ve been to countless meetings and rubbed shoulders with people who have so many opportunities to offer, the networking that happens here is great.

“For two people who have never had full time jobs, we have felt pretty good about it and where we are at the moment.

“I could never, ever, ever imagined that I could be here, so who knows what else life has to offer in a years’ time!”