I wish I'd stayed at school

How mentoring and an open door can work wonders for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students

“I think I would have stayed at school if my school experience had been different’. This is the most common lament from students at Bnym Aboriginal Corporation (Bnym) when they start their pre-accredited course and the teachers begin working with them on setting their work, study and personal goals.

Poor school experience between the ages of 11 to 13 and dropping out by the age of 15 has been a consistent theme, for both Bnym’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners. This Learn Local based in Morwell, is seriously committed to trying to address this issue.

Sam Walker Wilson, Bnym Manager, says:  “From day 1 at their initial one-to-one introductory session, many of our students gain a sense that their Learn Local teachers really care about them.  Many of them have very low literacy and numeracy levels and, because of that, also have low chances of getting or keeping work. Just because they don’t have great reading and numeric skills, doesn’t mean that our students don’t have great ideas”.

“We are trying to re-ignite a spark in our students, to get them thinking about what they wanted to do when they were young and address a challenge for them in finding work.  We mentor them and give them the use of our facilities to develop their ideas. Over the past 18 months, we have been working closely with 20 people and so far, three have started micro-businesses (a motor mechanic, a biscuit maker and a ceramic artist).  We work with the students to get them motivated again,” Mrs Walker Wilson explained.

“It’s a small beginning but our programs are designed as preparation for the New Enterprise Initiative Scheme (NEIS) for people who – without this preparation – would not be able to succeed in the scheme and create work for themselves.”

Mrs Walker Wilson said that: “Bnym’s pre-accredited training courses provide an approved pathway for unemployed people to transition to employment. After working through Konekt Employment in Gippsland, Bnym has secured Department of Jobs and Small Business approval as Centrelink authorised activities for two of its employment skills courses.

Course enquiries and enrolments can be made by contacting Bnym on 5133 0325 or email bnymid@aussiebb.com.au.