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Indigenous students on pathway to success

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students took their first steps towards tertiary education with the commencement of the Preparation for Tertiary Success (PTS) program at the Desert Peoples Centre. The 2017 intake for Alice Springs includes seventeen Indigenous students from all across Australia.

PTS is a pathway into university, but it involves more than just learning the required academic skills. Students also uncover the necessary dimensions of successful adult learning – such as confidence, resilience and the ability to learn new things. Students and staff bring together their Indigenous and academic knowledge systems to develop a strong ‘Both-ways’ learning identity. The course is free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and offers a clear pathway into higher education.

This new cohort of students have come from near and far to undertake the course. There are three local students from Alice Springs.

One Alice Springs local, Jay, explained why he had enrolled in PTS,

‘I hope to get more confidence to prepare for university. I wish to study psychology and develop a career in that field’.

Dahmeeka, another local student, said, ‘I am doing the PTS course because I would like to obtain an entrance pathway so that I can further my study in music or philosophy at university’.

There are students from Tennant Creek doing the PTS course this semester. One of them, Selena, said the following, ‘I wanted to do this course to build my confidence up, to learn more and to help me with my work’.

There are also students from as far away as Boigu and Darnley Islands in the Torres Strait. One of these students, Lucy, from Darnley Island explained why she decided to do PTS,

‘What motivated me to come and do PTS was to build my confidence and hopefully go on to do further studies’.

Ethel, who is from Boigu Island but lives in Cairns, said,

‘I wanted to better my future and be a good role model for my kids’.

These students were joined by many others from other parts of Queensland and NSW, all of whom were undertaking PTS for similar reasons.

Jamie from Blackwater NSW said ‘I want to pursue art and creative writing but lack confidence so when I heard of PTS I thought it was the perfect opportunity to engage in study, build my self-confidence, and follow what I love’.

Benjamin from Napranum, near Weipa in Queensland, described his reasons for undertaking the course, stating, ‘I want to develop my knowledge and be an inspiration to others. I also want to tell others what development opportunities the campus has to offer’.

The students have now completed the first part of their first unit for this semester but will be regular visitors to the Desert Peoples Centre and Alice Springs, as they complete the rest of their units throughout 2017.

There will be another intake for the PTS course in July and applications for semester 2 will open in May, 2017. For more information please visit: or call 1800 677 095.