Helping close Rocky's indigenous health gap
SIX months ago, Jaucintha Iles made a decision that would change the rest of her life.
Working as a cleaner at the Rockhampton Base Hospital, she decided to go back and do further study to ultimately find herself in a more satisfying career.
"I wanted to gain some further skills and knowledge to make a contribution to my community and make a better life for my daughter and myself,” Jaucintha said.
Jaucintha is one of a rising number of Indigenous youngsters deciding to undertake Vocational Education and Training (VET) with CQUniversity.
Studying a Certificate III in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health as part of her employment with CQ Youth Connect in Rockhampton, and Jaucintha believes she is now making a difference.
Working at the Base Hospital, Jaucintha was guided and inspired by health professionals who helped to motivate and foster her interest in healthcare.
"I have always been interested in health but didn't know where to start,” Jaucintha said.
"I spoke to health professionals at the Base and also all different people in the community about what I wanted to do to help others and being an Indigenous Health worker was my new goal and CQ Youth Connect gave me that opportunity,” Jaucintha said.
As an Indigenous Youth Engagement Officer, Jaucintha helps educate Indigenous youth on reproductive health with the CQUniversity training providing a boost to her skills and knowledge.
"This course has made a big difference in my life,” she said.
"It has a given me the skills and knowledge, to do my job and has also provided me with confidence and a better understanding of Indigenous Health Care.
"I have stepped out of my shell and have taken on roles in my work such as, to link with different networks and organisations and by attending conferences, events and training.”
Jaucintha said she enjoyed empowering youth to make informed healthy choices by promoting physical, spiritual, social and emotional well-being.
"I can relate my own life experiences with some of our clients that can help them seek professional help and encourage them to make healthier choices,” she said.
"I want to be a role model and a leader, I would like to educate more people and to have a positive impact on Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples' lives.”
According to a recent report by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), VET training plays a vital role in helping Indigenous students to close the health gap for young Indigenous Australians.
The NCVER report found that VET is the preferred post-school learning pathway for Indigenous students, with a steady increase over 2005 to 2015 in Indigenous students' participation in qualifications Certificate III and above.
The survey also revealed that employment outcomes were particularly sound for Indigenous trade and non-trade apprentices who completed their training.
This is part of a wider trend CQUniversity is noticing with 111% increase in Indigenous student numbers across its Certificate I to Diploma level courses in 2017 compared to the previous year.
To learn more about the vocational training courses available at CQUnviersity visit www.cqu.edu.au/tafe2017