NSW Premier recognises prosperous TAFE Western program

A unique TAFE Western program that is delivering successful employment outcomes for Aboriginal students across regional and remote NSW has been recognised by NSW Premier Mike Baird.

The Building an Aboriginal Health Worker Skilled Workforce initiative with Western NSW Local Health District has been announced as one of three finalists in the prestigious NSW Premier’s Awards in the category of Driving Public Sector Diversity.

Relieving TAFE Western Institute Director Susan Carey said TAFE Western was thrilled to receive recognition in the Premier’s Awards again, after IPROWD won the Building Stronger and Safer Communities category last year.

“Competition was strong with a high volume of nominations received from public sector organisations across the state and for TAFE Western to be shortlisted as a finalist for this fantastic, life-changing program is a tremendous result for our organisation and staff who continue to contribute greatly to their local Aboriginal communities,” Ms Carey said.

“Since the Certificate IV Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care qualification delivery commenced in 2007 to 14 students in partnership with Western NSW Local Health District, it has exceeded all expectations and continues to enhance health and welfare options across NSW communities, from Coonabarabran to Cowra, Brewarrina to Bathurst and Wilcannia to Wellington.

“More than 195 students have gone on to complete the qualification with 80% of graduates (156 students) remaining in full-time Health related employment.

“Many graduates have progressed into senior positions in Aboriginal health, chronic care, sexual health and diabetes management. Others have articulated into further tertiary study in Nursing, Mental Health and Community Development.

“The best part is the program's momentum continues, helping increase the number of highly-skilled registered Aboriginal Health Practitioners in regional NSW while bringing vital medical service and employment into regional and remote communities.

“The associated value to local communities' viability and morale is priceless.”

TAFE Western Broken Hill College Team Leader Byron Hooker was also named a finalist in the Anthea Kerr Award for Individual Excellence category - an award that recognises future public sector leaders for their outstanding effort and commitment to the NSW Public Sector.

A proud but humble Mr Hooker said the award nomination came as a complete shock, but he was thrilled to be recognised in this prestigious award.

“It’s a massive honour to be nominated for this award and to be a finalist in such a quality field and have the successes I already have has been amazing,” Mr Hooker said.

“However my ability to receive recognition from the NSW Premier is as much a credit to my colleagues for the amazing team dynamic that we have and the overall outstanding performance of TAFE Western.”

Award winners will be announced at a special presentation in Sydney on October 25. For more information about the Premier’s Awards, please visit www.publicserviceawards.nsw.gov.au