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Graduation day makes history in Maningrida

10 March 2023

Last week, the first-ever cohort to obtain formal health qualifications on-country, in Maningrida, made history, graduating with a Certificate II in Aboriginal Primary Health Care.

In February 2021, the Primary Health Care Clinic in Maningrida came officially under Aboriginal Community Control through Mala’la Health Service Aboriginal Corporation. Of the 32 local Aboriginal staff employed at the clinic at that time, only one was qualified (and had graduated over 30 years ago). The gap in course completion was largely due to various challenges with off-site learning. With Aboriginal Health Workers being a vital part of supporting better community health outcomes, it was evident that it was time for change.

With the support and funding from Northern Territory PHN, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations' Foundation Skills for Your Future program and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, a place-based training model was developed. The course was tailored to be delivered on-country, ensuring students could continue their family, cultural, work and community responsibilities whilst undertaking studies.

Ninti Training delivered engaging, fun and relatable learning. The tireless efforts of from trainers Miss V and Raelene Beale, contributed significantly to this success. Students further benefited from the on-ground support from Mala’la’s Training Coordinator, Seide Ramadani, and Workforce Coordinator, James Woods, overseeing the course and supporting students throughout the year to achieve their goals.

The graduation ceremony was a memorable and historical occasion. The ceremony was opened with a Welcome to Country by Traditional Owner, David Jones, followed by a welcome speech from Mala'la Chairperson and Senior Aboriginal Health Practitioner, Charlie Gunabarra. Following the official welcome, the students were invited to the stage where they were presented with their certificates. There were many tears and cheers from family, friends and colleagues around the room.

To end the night, guest speaker, NT Chief Aboriginal Health Practitioner, Iris Raye welcomed the new graduates to the health profession and imparted her passion for Aboriginal health care with the graduates.

Mala’la Health Service is immensely proud of our graduates, Eileen Gunabarra, Fabian Smith, Jermaine Namanurki, Kurt Brown, Natasha Bond and Shannon Brown. They undertook the course with courage and dedication and supported each other throughout. Their hard work, personal drive and professionalism will no doubt inspire future generations.

Students of the Year were Natasha Bond and Jermaine Namanurki, while the Ninti Training Award of Excellence was awarded to Fabian Smith.

Statements of Attainment were also awarded to our students Tiffy Taylor, Nikki Stewart, Jayden Smith and Simeon Darcy.