North Australia Indigenous students experience Griffith Health

Yama Banu and Taylor West

Experiencing the life of a university student on the Gold Coast was the aim this week for 25 Indigenous high school students hoping to work in health.

A partnership between Griffith University and training organisation Connect ‘n’ Grow, the Hands Up Uni Experience Camp is seeking to provide Indigenous students from
across Northern Australia, with the opportunity to learn more about studying for a health career.

Held from 20-25 October, and funded by Higher Education Pathways Participation Project (HEPPP), the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council and Medibank Private, the program aims to develop a pathway into health programs with recognised skill shortages for students from low SES backgrounds. It also aims to develop Indigenous health leadership through the health professions.

Range of academic workshops

The camp is providing a range of academic workshops focussing on disciplines available at Griffith including nursing, midwifery, medicine and allied health programs.

In addition, the students – who have all been selected for the program based on their health-related vocational education and training qualifications at their respective schools – will benefit from a comprehensive program of events including talks with the University’s Gumurri Student Support Unit, site visits to the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service including the Indigenous Health Services and the Kalwun Community Controlled Health Service.

“Research has shown that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from regional communities tend to experience greater success in life and an improved standard of living when they take part in sporting, academic, health and cultural activities,” says program convenor Professor Roianne West from the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

“The combined effect of these educational, vocational and extra-curricula activities is seen through students’ increased ability to make informed decisions about tertiary
education and career choices, as well as their increased self-esteem and aspirations.”

The students will have lots of opportunities for interaction with other Indigenous students considering university, as well as both health professionals and lecturers and current Griffith Health students.

The summer camp will culminate with a Community Consultation Workshop for parents and community members at Griffith. This will provide an opportunity for students, parents and educational providers to converse on the expectations, realities and benefits of children attending uni away from their home communities.