Aboriginal Gathering Wondonga

Inspired, culturally connected and proud are just some of the words trainees use to describe their feelings after participating in a Warumilang gathering.

As part of the Warumilang program, AFL SportsReady hold a number of gatherings for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees across the country. This provides them with the opportunity to build positive and lasting relationships, share experiences and connect on a cultural level.

A gathering was recently held in Wodonga for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Regional school-based trainees. The first part of the day was a My Moola’ (Money management) information session run by ‘First Nations’ and the second half was a meal shared with staff and trainees to celebrate their achievements.

AFL SportsReady’s Regional Victoria Field Officer, Michael Caruso, was responsible for the gathering.

‘These young people had successfully navigated through and completed School-based Traineeships at various branches of Australia Post, Westpac and NAB,’ said Mr Caruso.

‘Through Ralphs’s guidance (AFL SportsReady's Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Mentor for the region), each of the trainees has benefitted immensely in terms of their cultural awareness, beliefs, knowledge and skills.

As a result of this, they have each developed a level of cultural security which has enhanced their social/emotional well-being and cultural identity – they are proud and confident of their identity and are able to exercise this appropriately in their communities,’ he continued.

One of the trainees in attendance, Andrew Gillam, proud Wiradjuri man from Wodonga Victoria, celebrated the day, describing it as a ‘positive experience’ and ‘a day to remember’. 

These gatherings give us the chance to meet other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people who also participate in AFL SportsReady programs,’ said Andrew.

Together we get to share stories, experiences, discuss our situations and talk about our customs and traditions. We get to connect really deeply to our roots,’ he added.

Andrew completed his Certificate II in Business and traineeship at Australia Post in 2017. Impressed with his dedication and hard work, his employer offered him full-time employment.

Proud Aboriginal Woman, Taylor Morey, also an Australia Post trainee, praised the Wodonga gathering and felt as though it gave her a greater understanding of her culture and ignited a sense of cultural pride. 

‘This was important to me as it gave myself and other trainees the perfect opportunity to meet and properly thank the people who guided us through this incredible journey. It was a really inspiring day and it made me feel proud,’ said Taylor.

AFL SportsReady’s trainee gatherings build positive and lasting relationships. This is just one part of the model of support we provide our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees to help them through the program.

Image: Staff and trainees enjoying a meal as part of the Regional Victoria gathering.

DATE: 9th of November 2017 

AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello