Djikami - Guŋgayunami dhukarr djämamiyamana - djämanmguma
WCE team supported the mentoring of students by community leaders as part of the WCE activities under the SLA. Up to 15 students in year ten, eleven and twelve have been involved in mentoring as part of a program to learn more about higher education options.
Djuwalpi Marika and Mutjangga Munuŋgurr have been mentoring students in the school. They are both senior men in Yirrkala and are strong role models for all people in the community and in particular those families and students associated with the school. The service agreement has provided the funds to enable this mentoring. People around the school have been providing positive feedback to WCE staff about having these senior men involved in the school and the settling influence this has created.
Djuwalpi Marika during mentoring sessions
Students were asked to develop their pathway, part of these activities was to then come to CDU Casuarina to visit the campus and learn first hand what type of studies they would choose next.
Students Pathway Visit to CDU
A group of senior students from Yirrkala School, several school staff members, along with youth from Tennant Creek, spent one week in Darwin in September 2015. The aims of this trip were multifaceted. Matalena Tofa, WCE Mentor and Enrichment Officer, worked with Yirrkala teachers to plan a trip that could to provide the student with a learning experience around available study options, accommodation facilities, and support services. Meetings with current higher education students who may not necessarily have completed high school or considered themselves to be ‘academic’ were arranged with the pathways students to demonstrate that further education is not limited to those who have achieved high grades in school. WCE also wanted to expose the students to different modes of study to highlight that it is not necessary to move to Darwin to participate in further education, but that this is one among many options for participating in higher education.
Positive feedback was received from both students and participating staff about this event. BIITE was a popular choice of where students said they were interested in studying in the future due to the smaller campus, the location away from the busy city area, opportunity to study and not get distracted by shopping, family and entertainment in Darwin, the Indigenous cohort and the smaller student numbers.
Positive feedback was also received regarding the opportunity to engage with the CDU Indigenous Student Ambassadors. The Indigenous Student Ambassadors shared with the youth what courses they are studying, some of the challenges that they face and how they are able to overcome these and succeed.
To revisit what was learnt, Yirrkala students developed a classroom display and delivered a presentation to their parents and families about this trip.
Music Mentoring Workshop
A four day Music Mentoring Workshop was organised and delivered in December 2016 when two secondary students with some music skills from Yirrkala School and 4 local mentors from Yirrkala travelled to CDU music school and an Aboriginal Radio studio in Darwin to write and record original songs and learn production skills. This workshop provided students who are currently disengaged from school to gain knowledge, experience and practical outcomes such as song writing and recording and mentoring other young people. The workshop also involved CDU arts and music lecturers. This workshop represented a direct approach to support ‘vulnerable’ young men who have experienced major family issues. They have been mentored and supported to consider further study in Art and Music, gain experience and achieve tangible outcomes through the recordings – whilst receiving support in a safe environment.
Since WCE began in Yirrkala there has been an increase in interest and awareness of tertiary education in Yirrkala. Community leaders and members involved in WCE were observed talking more about pathways and the difference between VET and higher education and how they go about studying at CDU/BIITE. This has resulted in questions about courses and student accommodation.