Batchelor Institute » Joyce’s journey opens career pathways
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Joyce’s journey opens career pathways

Joyce Wallis from Cairns is an Indigenous student studying for a Bachelor of Health Science at the Desert Peoples Centre (DPC) campus, Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Alice Springs. She is a recipient of a Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship and continues to inspire other Indigenous Australians with her learning journey that opens many career pathways in Health Promotion, Indigenous Health, Community Health Development and Occupational Therapy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Puggy Hunter Scholarship that Joyce is receiving is a scholarship scheme funded by the Department of Health and Ageing. The aim of the scheme is to encourage and assist Indigenous undergraduate students in health-related disciplines to undertake their studies and join the health workforce.

“The scholarship provided financial assistance with my study costs for fees, laptop and text books. This has helped me and my family. I need to make sure I continue to do well in my studies and pass each semester”

Joyce commenced the Bachelor of Health Science in July 2012 and studies through The Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education (ACIKE) – Batchelor Institute’s Higher Education delivery structure. This is a joint initiative between Charles Darwin University (CDU) and Batchelor Institute. She is looking forward to working in the health promotion field with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remote communities where she can contribute to promoting healthy lifestyles. She is also interested in increasing awareness about breast cancer and support for Indigenous women to make informed decisions about their health.

“I always wanted a career change. I left my job after 17 years working as a Program Manager at Centrelink in Cairns. I have applied for other jobs but was not successful because I did not have the right qualification. I went to TAFE in Cairns and completed a Diploma in Management and Human Resources and Certificate IV in Training & Assessment. I was still undecided about what sort of career I would like. I needed to find the right course that would help me and I was not eligible for ABSTUDY. I saw an advertisement in the Koori Mail about the Bachelor of Health Science and called to discuss my career aspirations with the lecturers at Batchelor Institute. The friendly lecturers assisted me with career pathways and enrolment. The study arrangement covers accommodation, meals and transport. I am very glad that I have made the right choice

My family supported me which is very important for me to achieve my career goals. It was a difficult decision to start studying after a long gap but I needed to change my mind-set to achieve my goals. I should have made this decision a long time ago to open more career options. When I come here to the DPC I get a lot of support from my lecturers,” Joyce said.

When working as a Program Manager at Centrelink, she managed the delivery of Centrelink services to remote Indigenous customers and communities in Queensland and supervised up to 60 staff. Having a stable job did not stop Joyce from wanting to continue learning to open up new career pathways.

The Institute has a free call line to assist Indigenous people to find out more about the Bachelor of Health Science program on 1800 677 095. E-mail enquiries can be sent to