North Australia Indigenous students experience Griffith Health

Yama Banu and Taylor West

Experiencing the life of a university student on the Gold Coastwasthe aim this week for 25Indigenous 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 healthcareer.

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 skillshortages for students from low SES backgrounds. It also aims to develop Indigenoushealth leadership through the health professions.

Range of academic workshops

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

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

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

“The combined effect of these educational, vocational and extra-curricula activities isseen 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 studentsconsidering university, as well as both health professionals and lecturers and currentGriffith Health students.

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