SWAN View Senior High School students in the Follow the Dream program have returned from a trip of a lifetime to Canberra, where they rubbed shoulders with the nation’s leaders and walked the corridors of Parliament House.
Year 11 students Taya Woods, Rohan Holiner, Tiahni Flakemore and Tremayne Parfitt were amongst the 55-strong delegation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Canberra last month for the Work Experience in Government program.
The program, funded by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, gives high-performing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students hands-on experience and information on job opportunities and career pathways in the Australian Government.
Follow the Dream co-ordinator Nicola Angell said she was delighted that of the 55 students selected across Australia, four came from Swan View SHS.
“We have some exceptionally bright and capable Aboriginal students and who knows, perhaps the first Aboriginal Prime Minister will be one of our graduates,” she said.
Rohan said students had a tour of Parliament House, had lunch with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and attended Question Time.
“Taya and I visited Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office, where we gained insight into the way he does business,” he said.
“The PM has a standing desk for computer work, has a quirky taste in art and judging by all the tea cups he drinks a lot of tea.”
Students also visited the Australian War Memorial, Australian Defence Forces Academy and Australian Federal Police Headquarters during the week. Taya said the most impressive part of the trip was not the grand buildings in Canberra, but the other work experience participants.
“I found the opportunity to spend time with other aspirant Aboriginal students was very exciting and empowering,” she said.
“There was a real sense of fellowship amongst us as young leaders who can make positive changes in our own and the wider community.”
She said the program showed the importance of community service in her future ambitions.
“I plan to be a midwife when I leave school as I love children and can’t think of anything more wonderful than helping a child into the world,” she said.
“The program also emphasised that everyone gives back in different ways and I want to serve the community by bringing children into the world and giving them a great start in life.”
Rohan said engineering and politics was on his radar.
“I would love to work in the public service and perhaps become a politician,” he said.
“I would like to see indigenous Australians given the respect they deserve as the nation’s first people and this would be the issue that motivates me to become a politician. I am going to be an engineer when I leave school because I want to make sure indigenous and remote communities have infrastructure and services too.”