Indigenous students plan ahead

KOBI Coulter was among the scores of students from visiting schools at the Deadly Days Dreaming My Future Festival.

Kicking off yesterday, the festival will see 2000 Aboriginal students from 42 high schools flock to the Coffs Harbour Education Campus (CHEC).

Kobi, from Kempsey High School, said the different career mentors were 'pretty cool'.

"The speakers told us that we can do anything and were there to help us know where we're going," the Year 8 student said.

North Coast TAFE's Deadly Days Dreaming My Future Festi- val is in its fourth year and this event is a little dif- ferent to those past.

Instead of three one-day festivals across the North Coast, Coffs Harbour is playing host to three days packed with education, entertainment and positive role-modelling.

This year's event features career mentors to speak to the students about how they came to work in law and justice, community services, health, creative industries and trades to name a few.

TAFE's director of community development and Aboriginal engagement Heather McGregor said they recognised the need to engage young people early, support students to set goals and encourage them to have aspirations.

"We have indigenous role models that range from doctors, dentists, business leaders and sporting heroes that will be on hand talk to these young people to encourage them to do well and to be proud of their Aboriginal heritage," Ms McGregor said.

"The festival exposes students to career opportunities and helps them see how they can make their dreams a reality. Many of the young Aboriginal students engaged in TAFE's vocational programs report participating in past festivals, which is great because the overall focus is to get these young people involved in Vocational Education and Training."

Ms McGregor said research shows that indigenous students who get involved in VET or school-based traineeships are more likely to complete high school.

The title 'Dreaming My Future' is embedded in the festival's aims: to promote indigenous education pathways and career opportunities; explore positive health and lifestyle choices; and celebrate Aboriginal cultural identity.

The community is invited to a night of performance at CHEC O Block Theatre from 5.30pm to 9pm today. Tomorrow is full of activities which celebrate indigenous culture from 9am-3pm.



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