Deanne Kenyon, Shinade Djerrkura and Lateesha Barlow are the first IYCP graduates in the Northern Territory to gain fulltime work after completing the program.
“We’re very proud to see our first graduates now working fulltime and making a difference in their community,” Mission Australia NT State Leader Sue Kendrick said.
“These girls are shining examples of how the Indigenous Youth Career Pathways can help young people transition into work or study after school.”
Deanne Kenyon, who is now working fulltime as a tour guide in her family-owned Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours on the outskirts of Darwin, said the program helped her stay on track and achieve her goals.
“Doing the IYCP program with Mission Australia was great,” Ms Kenyon said.
“It was that outside encouragement. Not someone from the school or family telling you what to do but someone to help you see the big picture.
“I wanted to be like my Dad, he’s a Park Ranger, so I followed him and studied Conservation and Land Management.”
Deanne enrolled in the IYCP program with Mission Australia in July 2012 and studied a Certificate Two in Conservation Land Management and Certificate Three in Tourism over eighteen months.
But she readily admits she wasn’t always this dedicated.
“You could say that I went through a phase of being a rebel and not seeing the point in school,” Deanne said.
“I started wagging classes and told my Dad that I didn’t want school. I didn’t want peer pressure and I didn’t want to put up with fights. Friends where you fight one week and are friends the next, only to do it all over again next month,” she explains.
“I tried home schooling for a while and only wanted to go back to school if I could do something to help me with work and that’s when Mum told me about the Mission Australia program.
“I’m so glad that I did it. I now have qualifications and the courses helped me step out of my comfort zone and get used to talking to thousands of tourists a week.
“While I’ve always grown up knowing my bushtucker and culture, it improved my customer skills and taught me how to deal with conflict situations or confronting questions.”
Mission Australia’s Indigenous Youth Career Pathways Program began in Darwin in June 2012 with the vision to increase the number of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in fulltime work or study after school.
“Every student in the Indigenous Youth Career Pathways Program has a dedicated mentor who will support them through the program,” Ms Kendrick said.
“It’s similar to a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship in that participants will learn a trade or gain a Certification Two, Three or Four in their chosen field while they complete school.”
IYCP is a federally funded program open to Indigenous students from Years 10 to 12.
For more information visit www.missionaustralia.com.au