After a competitive national selection process, four Follow The Dream students were chosen to attend the 2018 Australian Government’s Work Exposure in Government (WEX) program in Canberra from 9th to 14th September.

The four Follow The Dream students – Steven Trott, Melaila Hansen, Lauren Taylor, and Alkira Gamble – joined 66 other high-performing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Canberra to learn more about careers in the Australian Government.

Steven Trott and Melaila Hansen attend the Follow The Dream program in Kalgoorlie, Lauren Taylor is a member of the Newman Follow The Dream program, and Alkira Gamble is part of the Fremantle program. Follow The Dream is a national academic enrichment program, co-managed by the Graham Polly Farmer Foundation, that supports Aboriginal students to complete their secondary education and move into successful post-school pathways, including university, skill training, apprenticeships and direct employment.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, commented: “The WEX program gives young people career advice on the opportunities available to them as a government employee and showcases the magnificent Canberra cultural institutions and exciting places to work – such as the Australian Federal Police and ADFA. The public service needs hard-working and smart Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in its ranks now, more than ever.”

The Australian Government’s WEX program brings together seventy Year 11 and Year 12 students from around the country to take part in a five day interactive programme of learning, leadership, career planning and cultural mentoring. The students had the opportunity to meet senior government Ministers and parliamentarians, tour the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Australian Federal Police headquarters, visit national institutions such as the Australian War Memorial and the Museum of Australian Democracy, tour Parliament House, and attend a careers expo.

Melaila Hansen, Year 11 student on the Kalgoorlie Follow The Dream program, embraced the opportunity to be part of this year’s WEX program: “Travelling to Canberra was an amazing opportunity and the week long program made me really think about my future career and focus on the path I need to go down in order to get there. Meeting some of the indigenous people who work in Parliament in a range of positions made me think about starting a career in the Government.”

Nathan Dines, Follow The Dream Coordinator at Fremantle College, says that these sorts of opportunities help to broaden students’ horizons and open their eyes to the many varied pathways available to them after school: “The WEX program has been a fantastic opportunity for students as it encourages them to consider a wide range of career possibilities and inspires them to pursue their aspirations. The fact that four Follow The Dream students have been selected out of a nationally competitive process is testament to their hard work and dedication. I have no doubt that all four students will go on to achieve great success in their lives, whatever pathway they ultimately choose.”

The Follow The Dream programs around Australia are proudly supported by a number of long-term partners. BHP proudly supports the Newman program, AngloGold Ashanti and Wesfarmers support the Kalgoorlie program, and all three programs are partnered by the WA Department of Education.

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