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Tertiary Success in Action

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Preparation for Tertiary Success (PTS) is a university preparation course for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is designed to help people develop the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to succeed at university. To find out how PTS is achieving these aims we spoke to four people who have completed PTS and are now studying at university.

Kenisha Gumbula is a Yolngu woman (Dhuwa from the Datiwuy tribe) from Galiwinku, Elcho Island in North East Arnhem Land. After completing high school in 2011 at a private boarding school in Sydney, she returned home to Galiwinku and had two boys. In 2015 Kenisha enrolled in the PTS program “The best parts of doing PTS were working and interacting with other students which helped me a lot with building up my confidence and learning new skills that would be useful in university now which I am very thankful to PTS for helping me.” Kenisha is currently studying an Associate Degree in Legal Studies at Charles Darwin University. Her goal is to go into the Bachelors of Law and become a lawyer “so that I can help our people in remote communities who may have little understanding of the law.” Kenisha recommends PTS to anyone who wants to go to university. “PTS will definitely help you out… It is also fun because you get to meet up with other Indigenous students that may or may not be doing the same course as you are” Kenisha said.

Rachel Geier, a Wagaman woman born in Darwin, has lived in the NT her whole life. Rachel is the eldest of seven children and she helped out a lot with her younger siblings. Rachel said: “this was the main reason I decided to become a teacher, helping my younger siblings with homework and pretty much any other school task was my responsibility.” Rachel is currently studying a Bachelor of Education with Charles Darwin University and once qualified her goal is to work at a primary school hopefully teaching Creative Art or a Grade 2 class. To get ready for her teaching degree, Rachel did the PTS course first. Rachel said that PTS “gave me insight to what is expected of me when doing assignments and how to reference properly. I also made great friends who then went on to do the same course as me and thanks to PTS I already knew how to use LearnLine when starting my course unlike a lot of other students.”

Chantae Jackson grew up in Yarrabah south of Cairns, QLD. After Year 12 she completed a Certificate III in Community Sports and Recreation and Fitness and then did the PTS course, travelling between Yarrabah and Alice Springs to do the PTS workshops. Chantae said “PTS was amazing and it really got me ready for uni, helping me with my maths and writing.” After PTS Chantae moved to Melbourne and started a degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Australian Catholic University (ACU) before realising that wasn’t the course for her. Chantae transferred to Nursing and hasn’t looked back. Chantae said she likes to “have a good conversation with the patients, a lot of patients love to talk. I’ve opened up a lot more as I used to be really shy.” Chantae is an ACU student ambassador which involves helping with orientation and going out to schools where she talks about her education journey “Hopefully I’m inspiring some people to come to uni” Chantae said.

Amelia Haley is from Walgett NSW but currently lives in Darwin NT where she completed her PTS studies. After finishing PTS Amelia first enrolled in teaching until she realised her passion was in the health field. Amelia started a degree in Nursing but is currently having a break from that as she is working full time at the Royal Darwin Hospital. Amelia works in the palliative care unit which she loves: “It’s a bit sad but it’s a beautiful place to work.” Amelia is also studying a Certificate III in Business because she is really enjoying “seeing the business side of things in the hospital.” Amelia believes in a good school education and recently spoke to the ABC about the Walgett Shire Council’s strategy to bus pupils out of Walgett to Lightning Ridge to attend school. As Amelia said “It doesn’t matter what school you go to, it’s what you have around you, the support you need to invest into the community, invest in that school, with the students help them out.”

PTS helps students to build personal and academic skills by bringing together Indigenous Australian and Western academic knowledges. It is delivered as a partnership between Batchelor Institute and Charles Darwin University.

Applications to start PTS in Semester 2 are now open. You can find out more about the course and how to apply at www.batchelor.edu.au/students/courses/higher-education-courses/ or email PTS@batchelor.edu.au or phone 1800 677 095