Indigenous students are matching their love of football with the love of learning.
The Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre – named after the legendary Indigenous Territory footballer – has had many successes since it opened in 2015.
More than 700 students from 21 remote communities have taken part in the centre’s leadership program.
But the organisation is not resting on its laurels and has launched a new program focused on education leading to a job.
The original leadership program harnesses the power of football to inspire students to attend school and make good behavioural choices.
It focuses on 12–13-year-old students with a strong emphasis on the importance of completing secondary education.
Students engage in football-themed literacy and numeracy sessions daily throughout the program, and experience a range of team-building and leadership exercises.
There is an expectation that students will continue to role-model this leadership to their peers after returning to their communities, further enhancing the reach and impact of the program.
The new five-day program is based on the core elements of what has proved a successful model but will focus on the Employment Pathways Curriculum for students aged 14-17.
Twelve boys and girls attending the new-look program are from Borroloola school.
Centre programs manager Rychelle Vines said the program would link school to work.
“The aim is to help the students grow in confidence and motivation, and to make school relevant to work.”
The initiative is funded by McArthur River Mine, which is also the platinum sponsor of the Skills, Employment and Careers Expo, run by the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation.
Students will engage in job-readiness lessons, including telephone skills, occupational health and safety requirements, resume writing before applying to complete an introduction to work experience at AFLNT, NORFORCE and Aboriginal Broadcasting Australia.
They are also touring Charles Darwin University and going to Parliament House to meet Cabinet Minister Gerry McCarthy, who was principal of their school for six years.
The students – who were chosen by Borroloola school based on their good attendance and behaviour – will wrap up the new leadership program by attending the Skills, Employment and Careers Expo, which is run by the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation.
The expo has been travelling the Territory and ends at Darwin Convention Centre – 8.30am-2.30pm on Friday and 9am-1pm on Saturday.
Entry is free.
For more information on the Skills, Employment and Careers Expo, visit skillsemploymentexpo.nt.gov.au