Collaborative delivery of work-integrated learning to Indigenous Australians in a remote community
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Australian universities have demonstrated heightened investment in the concept of work-integrated learning (WIL) as a strategy for enriching student experiences while providing pathways leading to better employment opportunities. These endeavours are mainly for enrolled post-secondary students, both local and international, and managed by academic staff of universities that are sited in urban centres enabling linkages to industry. The content of this paper describes a vocational educational programme for Indigenous Australians with elementary and lower secondary school experience. This programme embraces all the various forms of WIL, is undertaken in a remote locality in northern Australia, and although the key objectives of the programme are closely aligned with Australian university WIL-cored courses (i.e., enrichment, employment), a salient difference is university academic personnel and staff of other registered training companies travel to the remote industry centre to deliver the programme content to the participants. Data from the programme, now approaching its fourth year, are presented and discussed to reveal challenges and opportunities for industry, academia, and the community. A concluding section advances the initiative as a promising alternative to existing traditional models, which has potential to substantially improve Indigenous Australian employment levels and lessen the persistently reported socioeconomic disadvantages of Indigenous communities in remote Australia.
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