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First Steps course pays off indigenous students

STEPPING OUT: Graduates of the TAFE First Steps program with (back left) Coles representative Robyn Strawb and trainers Josh Slabb and Merryn Thatcher (back right).
STEPPING OUT: Graduates of the TAFE First Steps program with (back left) Coles representative Robyn Strawb and trainers Josh Slabb and Merryn Thatcher (back right). Marnie Johnston

TEN local people have been given a new lease on life after graduating from a course at Lismore TAFE on Friday.

The happy graduates completed the First Steps course at North Coast TAFE, a new course designed to help indigenous people transition into the workplace.

At their graduation ceremony following the three-week course, the 10 participants proudly revealed they have all gained employment and would begin work this week.

All 10 participants have all been employed by Coles in Goonellabah, Ballina, Lismore and Casino.

The participants said they had enjoyed the course thoroughly, learnt a lot and made new friends along the way.

They simply couldn't wipe the smiles off their faces at their graduation.

The students said TAFE trainers Josh Slabb and Merryn Thatcher had been amazing.

Mrs Thatcher travelled up from Petersham TAFE in Sydney, where the program was developed, to help deliver the course in Lismore.

She had nothing but good things to say about the Lismore participants.

"This is the best group we've ever had," she said.

Mrs Thatcher said the group had close to 100% attendance and showed enthusiasm in all the classes and during the included work experience of three placements throughout the course.

She said that 51 people had applied to take part in the program with just 10 chosen to complete the first staging of the course.

Another course will be run in Grafton in May.

Amelia Roberts, of Lismore, was one of those who graduated.

"I think it's a great program for indigenous people and getting them into the workforce," she said.

"For a lot of the younger ones it's their first time in the workforce, and for some of the mums."

"For me it's about showing the younger generations that they can get out there and work and do something with their lives."

Topics:  tafe course


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