Mackay Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenagers are one step closer to dream careers in healthcare

21 January 2021

A new pathway for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to gain careers in healthcare launched with the Big Dream' Small Steps program at CQUniversity Mackay campus on 21 January 2021.

Mackay Hospital and Health Service has partnered with CQUniversity and Australian Training Works with support from Northern Queensland Primary Health Network to recruit 20 Year 11 students to a school-based traineeship in 2021.

The program has been named Budyubari Bidyiri Kebi Stapal' which translates to Big Dream' Small Steps.

CQUni's Senior Coordinator Student Engagement' Wes Heberlein was proud to see 20 Year 11 students attend the program launch in preparation for their upcoming course due to start at the end of this month.

"At CQUniversity' we are committed to creating positive and successful educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people'" Mr Heberlein said.

"Big Dream' Small Steps will assist in increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in health careers' through strong levels of cultural' pastoral and academic support that is critical for their success."

The students will begin a Certificate II in Health Support Services with opportunities to apply for traineeship positions at Mackay Base Hospital in nursing' medical imaging' clinical measurements and support services through a Certificate III in Health Services Assistant or Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance (School Based Traineeship).

Mr Heberlein said the pathway would support students to transition from school into the workforce and even into higher education.

"Partnering with Mackay Hospital and Health Service enables students to have a comprehensive learning experience – from hands-on learning in CQUniversity's Clinical Learning Space to on-the-job training during hospital placement.

"Students that would like a head start on university-level study are then able to apply directly to our range of higher education health courses'" he explained

Chief Executive Lisa Davies Jones said Big Dream' Small Steps would help start the next generation of healthcare workers on their career path.

Ms Davies Jones said the health service was committed to employing more staff who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

About 2 per cent of the workforce currently identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

"We want to increase that to 5 per cent to be in line with the proportion of the wider health service community that identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander'" she said.