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Indigenous youth land in healthy head start

Cairns Indigenous trainees 2015
Two of Cairns' Indigenous trainees 2015

4 May 2015

THIRTEEN indigenous students were officially welcomed to the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service today after successfully landing individual traineeships.

The new initiative comes after almost two years of planning by the Health Service in partnership with Skill360 Australia.

Health Service Executive Director (People and Culture) Caroline Wagner said it was a proud day for the Health Service.

“This is about creating opportunities for our indigenous youth they might not otherwise have had,” she said.

“Each trainee is offered a position in a different discipline across our various facilities including Cairns, Mareeba, Atherton, Mossman and Herberton just to name a few.

“It is wonderful to be able to give these young people a chance to earn a wage while gaining invaluable experience.”

Pearl Foster is one of the 13 successful applicants now working for the Health Service.

The 18-year-old is completing an Allied Health traineeship with the Speech Pathology Department at Cairns Hospital.

“My family moved here from the Torres Strait three years ago and I was determined to take advantage of any opportunities that came my way,” she said.

“I have always wanted to work in Health. It is such an essential industry, it really is the centre of all things and this traineeship has only deepened my passion for it.

“The team here are fantastic and so supportive. I get to be really hands on which is so rewarding. Every day there is something new to learn.”

Pearl said she wanted to set an example for the young indigenous community.

“I know I want to have a career in health and this has certainly set me on my way. One day I would like to go back to the Torres Strait and use my qualifications to give back to where I came from.”

Pearl’s supervisor and, Director of Speech Pathology, Katie McMillan said the team were blessed to have her on board.

“I knew the second she walked in she was the one for us, and I have no doubt Pearl will go on to great things,” she said.

“This initiative brings benefits to everyone involved: the trainees get the experience and exposure, and the Health Service benefits greatly from their youth and enthusiasm.”

Rebecca Burke, Skill360’s Indigenous Strategic Projects Manager said they were very proud to be involved.

“Working in partnership with Cairns Hinterland and Hospital Service over the past 18 months, Skill360 provided expertise and support in the areas of Indigenous recruitment and training built up through many years of helping Indigenous job seekers find sustainable employment.

“Everyone at Skill360 wishes the trainees the best for their future and we are looking forward to supporting them as they begin their new careers.”

More than 60 applicants were interviewed for the positions with nine school-based candidates and four full time trainees eventually selected.

Last updated: 20 December 2016