WA Training Minister, the Hon Terry Redman, officially launched a new Reconciliation Action Plan today at Central.
The plan details the practical actions Central will undertake to build strong relationships and enhanced respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the local community.
The plan cements Central as a place of learning where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff will feel respected and appreciated.
It will be a firm foundation to drive greater equality by implementing strong support systems and sustainable opportunities for both students and staff.
The launch included the unveiling of the new brand identity for Central’s Aboriginal Support Centre.
When the idea for the Aboriginal Support Centre was first being discussed, Governing Council member Mara West was a key player in the planning process.
Mara wanted the unit to be at the heart of Central’s central campus, servicing the needs of all our Aboriginal students. Hence its location at 30 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge.
Recently, Mara suggested that the Centre’s name be changed to reflect a more inclusive identity. A new identity requires a new brand.
As a result, a competition to design the new brand was launched. Twenty one students submitted artwork with an explanatory story. The artwork had to reflect Central’s location and cultural significance on Whadjuk country.
The winning artwork was ‘Wagyl guiding the way’, painted by artist and current visual arts student, Noeleen Hamlett. The Wagyl acts as a guardian, guiding students through their journey at Central. In Noeleen’s words, “The Wagyl’s swirls change as we change as students, learning and gaining new knowledge. Each swirl represents every student changing like a snake sheds its skin, a new layer, a new beginning”.
The renamed Koolark Centre for Aboriginal Students acknowledges Central’s location and cultural significance on Whadjuk country. Appropriately Koolark means ‘home’.
In the Minister’s speech, he outlined the importance of pathways to opportunity.
“One of the priorities of the State Workforce Development Plan is ensuring we have strategy for engaging the under represented groups in our community. Highlighted in that plan is the importance of partnerships and partnering with the community to achieve good outcomes”, said the Minister.
“School, training and employment have to be the pathway to stepping out of poverty and disadvantage. Local solutions are very important, to manage people through the transitions from school into training, training into employment or unemployment into employment. Managing those pathways and giving support at the times of transition is absolutely critical.”
He went on to stress the importance of practical action.
“When you come in the front door of a new place like this from a disadvantaged background, you are challenged. I compliment Central Institute’s objective for putting in place a RAP which yes, is words, but words that set the foundation for clear, practical actions that can actually make a difference in an organisation’s culture.
So when someone walks in through that door they see a pathway to the training that is committed to helping them towards a full time job and making a contribution and supporting their kids. Something that is an ultimate objective for us all”, said the Minister.
“They are respected. There is support, and they know they are coming into a friendly place, a learning environment, which we all acknowledge is a fundamental path for getting out of a disadvantaged position.
“Coupled with the development of the new brand, this is a very practical example of moving and supporting a cultural shift in an organisation, to ensure that we collectively, and Central collectively, are making our contribution towards supporting a pathway of getting Indigenous people into employment, which is the ultimate goal”.
The special launch event concluded with speeches from Mara West and Chair of Central’s Governing Council Prof. Lance Twomey, followed by the cutting of an amazing cake.
Congratulations to the staff at the newly named Koolark Centre for Aboriginal Students and a very big thank you to Central’s Certificate III in Events students, who organised the whole morning and ensured everything went smoothly.