The trainee graduate stood in front of the auditorium at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) to share her story.
“My name is Hannah Ward and I am a proud young Aboriginal woman from the Kunja tribe,” she said.
“I’ve spent the past year as an Indigenous Trainee at USQ and I can’t tell you how much it has meant, not only to me, but to our people.”
Miss Ward, along with Karlee Germon-Peterson, Kiara Taylor and Joshua Tribe celebrated the end of an excellent year building their skills and knowledge at USQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traineeship program graduation last week.
The group spent the past 11 months working at USQ, gaining skills, experience and nationally accredited Certificate III in Business qualifications.
The program is an initiative of the University’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Career Development and Employment Strategy which aims to attract, recruit and retain Indigenous people to both academic and professional positions at USQ.
Miss Ward was part of USQ’s Student Services team.
“I thank all of you for teaching me, for being patient, for seeing my potential, for pushing me to my limits and for being the best team I could ever ask for,” she said.
USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie congratulated the trainees graduating from the program.
“The Traineeship Program has been running since 2012 and participants have achieved much success in that time,” she said.
“It's a great opportunity for the trainees to gain valuable work experience and is also an enriching experience for supervisors.
“USQ is committed to ‘Closing the Gap’ in training, education and employment outcomes between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people and by improving educational outcomes we can contribute to closing the employment gap.”
The trainees shared stories of their journey as the Vice-Chancellor, Australian Government representatives, Mission Australia VTEC, USQ staff members, family and friends listened in an atmosphere of emotion and inspiration.
Indigenous Employment Officer Sharron Jackson said the 2017 Trainees had every reason to be proud.
“They have worked very hard and demonstrated great professionalism and commitment,” she said.
“The Program has been a great success and this year is no different as the ultimate goal was achieved.
"The time at USQ has inspired the Trainees to be role models and they are entering into further education and employment to build their skills and knowledge.”
USQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traineeship program graduates (from left) Joshua Tribe, Karlee Germon-Peterson, Kiara Taylor and Hannah Ward