New "Caring for country—Caring for self" program for Aboriginal youth

A pilot program supporting the development of self esteem, pride and confidence in Aboriginal youth is set to begin, leading to increased employability and job opportunities. The program, an election commitment on employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal people, is a recommendation from the Report on the Review of Skills, Training and Workforce Development released in July 2020.

Community-based Aboriginal organisation As One Nyitting has been engaged to help deliver the Caring for country—Caring for self program, with a cohort of Aboriginal youth aged between 15 and 24 set to take part; further developing their cultural identity and knowledge. The program is aimed at youths who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging from education, training and/or employment, with numbers limited to 15 to provide intensive and individual support over the course of the year.

As One Nyitting’s programs are holistic and recognise the valuable role of Elders in supporting young people to learn these skills, 15 Elders will also take part in the program leading through action, providing cultural guidance and assisting in training and mentoring. By learning the skills to care for country and self, and developing cultural identity, the knowledge and confidence gained from the program will support participants to engage in training and employment.

Each person will identify training aligned to their interests and strengths, and map out future opportunities and goals for employment. Participants will also be able to access funded support to address any barriers to employment such as training fees, purchase of personal protective equipment and tools, and costs associated with transport or obtaining licences. 

“The McGowan Government is committed to increasing training and job opportunities for Aboriginal people and ensuring positive outcomes for their communities.“ said Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery today. "This program will develop self esteem, pride and confidence that will lead to meaningful job opportunities.”.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Stephen Dawson added “Connecting to country is a fantastic way to deliver benefits for Aboriginal communities - particularly young Aboriginal people – right across Western Australia. As we saw through this year’s NAIDOC theme, strengthening the connections Aboriginal people have to their country can be really important for healing and these connections are also crucial to Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing. This pilot program will strengthen the sense of belonging, identity and responsibility for Aboriginal youth, and support a foundation of empowerment and meaningful training that will hopefully lead to sustainable employment.”.