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The annual Ganbina Careers Night was held last month and was a resounding success. In total there were 19 employment and further education exhibitors available to speak with our Aboriginal youth about potential career and further education opportunities.

The Ganbina Careers Night is an integral part of the Jobs4U2 program. The Careers Night aims to inspire, empower and encourage Aboriginal youth to thrive and aim high for their future career goals so they make a successful transition from education to the workforce and/or further education.

The event is aimed at Ganbina participants currently completing Year 10, 11 or 12 and/or seeking employment, because this is typically an age when youth will begin to think about what they may like to do once they graduate from secondary school. The Careers Night also serves as an inspiration for different career pathways that our participants may not have considered before and showcases the support programs available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the further education space.

The Ganbina Employment and Training Program Project Officer ensures there are a wide variety of employers and further education providers available, in order to appeal to the variety of interests among the participants and to showcase the breadth of careers they could explore once they graduate.

This year’s exhibitors included national businesses such as Bunnings, Kmart and Crown Resorts, as well as local Shepparton employers such as Inspira Kids Early Learning Centre Shepparton, Shepparton Arts Museum, Dawes & Vary Riordan Lawyers and The Bridge Youth Services. Government and public sector jobs were also on display with the Australian Defence Force, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria Police all having stalls at the event.

In the further education space, both metropolitan and regional further education providers were represented. Local further education providers included GoTAFE and La Trobe Rural Health School. While metropolitan universities included RMIT, Victoria University and The University of Melbourne which spoke to the students about programs and facilities available specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

For Melissa Penfold, manager at Inspira Kids Early Learning Centre Shepparton, the Ganbina Careers Night is a great opportunity for local businesses to engage with the next generation of working professionals.

“It was a wonderful evening, where we had the opportunity to engage with the next generation
within our community and explain to them how important they’re contribution will be for upcoming generations. It was also fantastic to see the children interacting with their peers with excitement for all of the potential that their future will hold for them,” she said.

Victoria University’s Aboriginal Student Officer Rhiannon Madden particular enjoyed the opportunity to connect with potential future students outside of metropolitan Melbourne.

“We thrive on building relationships with potential students to help them with their future goals. Attending events like this helps us become known among regional communities and to be able to help mob on their journey. The youth that attended were great, they asked questions and those that knew what they wanted to study in the future asked many question. Great bunch!” she said.

Outside of the exhibitors, Ganbina arranged a series of fun games, competitions and speakers to make the night fun for the participants and to encourage them to engage with the exhibitors.

When the participants arrived, they were given a showbag that included a game of GANBINGO. The aim was for the participants to tick off as many bingo squares as possible by chatting to the stall holders and asking questions. If they successfully completed this the stall holder gave them a sticker to add to their GANBINGO sheet. At the end of the night, the completed bingo sheets go into a draw to win a series of gift vouchers. Other games and entertainment included a ‘guess the amount of lollies in the lolly jar’ competition, a mirror photo booth and a cultural colouring-in competition for little ones. Many participants come along with their parents and younger siblings, so it’s good to have an activity available to entertain younger children. Pizza and garlic bread was also ordered for attendees to enjoy.

“We always make sure to have some fun games, competitions and yummy food available on the night,” said Dayna Seymour, Ganbina’s Employment and Training Program Project Officer. “We want to make the event as engaging for our participants as possible as they’re currently at a crucial time in their education and employment journey, where they are starting to consider what life after school will bring. The entertainment and games on the night are designed so the participants engage with the stall holders and ask questions. Plus if they have a fun night, they will be keen to come back to next year’s Careers Night,’ she said.

Ganbina also arranged for a series of guest speakers on the night. The speakers included past and current Ganbina participants who could speak to the participants about their own further education and career journeys. Speakers included former Ganbina participant Lena-Jean Charles Loffel, who is currently the Impact Coordinator at Clothing the Gaps Foundation, a Ganbina board member and the first Ganbina participant to obtain a master’s degree. The second speaker was Tyrone Mohamed, a current Ganbina participant who is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Psychology at RMIT in Melbourne. The final speaker for the night was Amee Henningsen, who completed her final year with Ganbina in 2022 and is currently working at Dawes & Vary Riordan law firm.

“We always make sure to feature Aboriginal speakers who have been through the Ganbina program. We want to encourage our young participants to thrive and aim high in their future career goals, and by seeing young Aboriginal people who have achieved great things in their education and career journeys it shows them that they too can achieve those things to if they put their minds to it,” Dayna said.

In total, 26 Ganbina participants attended, which was a higher attendance rate than the 2022 Careers Night. On average, the participants rated the night an 8.5 out of 10 and said they particularly enjoyed the range of university providers and employers on offer and the fun games and activities on the night.

Here is a snapshot of the feedback from the participants…

“I liked learning about the uni’s and what programs and camps they have and the mirror photo booth was really cool. It was helpful learning about career options and they made it fun with the bingo,”
– Chenneil Fowler (Year 11)

‘Speaking with the military stall helped me with my application’
– Connor Moore (Year 12)
‘I really liked talking to the universities about career paths that could be good for me in the future, it was really interesting hearing about all the different options. I thought it was a really great night with a really good variety of workplaces and very friendly people.’
– Shilah Grace (Year 10)

‘I liked talking to the police and the army stall. I liked the pizza and I liked winning 100 dollars 
– Ellie Armstrong (Year 10)

Dayna describes the Ganbina Careers Night as the most beneficial event Ganbina hosts for the Year 10-12 age group.

“It’s probably the most beneficial event Ganbina has for this age group. It gives participants the opportunity to talk one-on-one with local employers and universities. It supports the kids who may miss out on the schools ‘Careers Day Out’ and for the kids who may need a support person with them in asking questions,” she said.

“During this year’s Careers Night we had a student complete their application for the Defence Force. They completed the first part of the application at the Careers Night and are currently in touch with the recruiter that was there to organise the second part of their application. Outcomes like this is why we do the Careers Night, to help our youth achieve their goals and put themselves out there,” she said.

If any businesses or education providers are interested in being an exhibitor for next year’s Careers Night, Dayna encourages them to get in touch.

“We’re always looking for more stall holders so we can increase the variety of workplaces and further education opportunities on offer. In particular, a few of our participants said they would like to see more employers who offer trades and apprenticeships so if there are any businesses or TAFEs in that space we would love to hear from you,” she said.

Any employer or further education provider who is interested in participating in next year’s Careers Night can contact Dayna by emailing her at dayna@ganbina.com.au