TAFE Western’s Institute Director, Ms Kate Baxter recently chaired a working group to prepare a report which tracked the pathways of 3,014 Aboriginal students aged 15 to 24, over a six year period from 2005 to 2010, who enrolled in TAFE NSW for the first time in 2005.
Minister for Education, the Hon. Adrian Piccoli today launched the report titled, ‘Not just a dream: Aboriginal student pathways to higher level qualification in TAFE NSW’, which shows significantly improved outcomes for Aboriginal students at TAFE NSW, although some challenges remain.
‘Recent data indicates that in the last 5 years there have been additional improvements in outcomes for Aboriginal students in TAFE NSW, including a 90% increase in completions for students aged 15-24 years at Certificate II and above’.
Ms. Baxter said, ‘The study aimed to identify a range of pathways taken by Aboriginal students, either into higher level qualifications at AQF Certificate III and above, or into employment.
‘The study also identified the critical factors that assist young Aboriginal students to progress successfully into higher level qualifications as well as the barriers preventing their progression.’
TAFE Western is the largest provider of vocational education and training for Aboriginal people in Australia with more than 7,000 students.
Mr Rod Towney, TAFE Western’s Manager of Aboriginal Education and Training said, ‘I am passionate about seeing improvements in educational attainments of Aboriginal peoples within Western NSW and throughout Australia.
“As a Wiradjuri man, I am proud to work for TAFE Western. The organisation is committed to ‘closing the gap’ on the disadvantage Aboriginal people experience in education and training.
‘TAFE Western has undertaken a number of important strategies to improve the services for Aboriginal people including the formation of an Aboriginal Community Reference Group, developing a cultural competence framework, increasing the number of Aboriginal teachers and appointing Aboriginal Student Support Officers to work directly with Aboriginal student to help them succeed in their studies.’
In another connection to the region, artwork for the report was illustrated by Connie Ah See a proud Wiradjuri women, who is also a Head Teacher at TAFE Western’s Yarradamarra training facility in Dubbo.
The artwork illustrates the journey Aboriginal peoples and non-Aboriginal peoples take together to help Aboriginal students achieve their Dreams.
The report and companion case studies are available at: http://www.bvet.nsw.gov.au