2020 IAHA NT Aboriginal Health Academy Graduation and Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2020 NT Aboriginal Health Academy Graduates and Award Winners  

IAHA were proud to host the IAHA Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Academy (NTAHA) graduation in Darwin for the second year.

As part of IAHA’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Academy program, the NTAHA uses an innovative community-led learning model that has reshaped and redesigned how training and education can be delivered with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in high school. The NTAHA takes a holistic and supportive approach to health and success, embedding the centrality of culture.

This year, the Academy has had the privilege of working collaboratively with seven high schools in the Darwin region, stakeholders and host employers to successfully engage and retain students in their education and learning despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s graduation recognised five young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the NTAHA, completing Year 12 and graduating with a Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance through a fully supported School-Based Traineeship, which involved on-the-job training and wrap-around support for an individual learning program.

The NTAHA also celebrated the 2020 Award winners and their outstanding achievements with their families, communities, government officials, and the broader IAHA support network.

Our graduating students were:

Whitney AhMat, Tianna Fitzgerald-Millar, Sarcora Giles-Morcom, Laila Olm and Lorraine Randall.

Our 2020 Academy Award Winners were:

NTAHA Inspiration Award – Lorraine Randall
NTAHA Local Champion Award – Elyssia Tallon Rosas
NTAHA Deadly Student Award – Toya Wilson-Norris
NTAHA Commitment Award – Porsche Cahill
NTAHA Student Choice Award – Lorraine Randall
NTAHA Future Health Leader Award – Tianna Fitzgerald-Millar

Whitney AhMat

My name is Whitney AhMat, I am an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, born and raised in Darwin, Northern Territory. I am graduating from Year 12 at Casuarina Senior College.

I joined the NTAHA to explore potential health career pathways and develop my knowledge on the different aspects of health. The NTAHA has helped and encouraged me to develop my professionalism and social skills giving me confidence to transform from schooling life to the workplace and explore all future professional options.

I have enjoyed participating in the interactive activities. When starting my work placement at Menzies School of Health Research, I was very nervous, but with support I was able to overcome this. I am still interested in a future career of nursing and NTAHA are supporting me with pathway possibilities to achieve my goals.

Dashay Bosi

My name is Dashay Borsi and I am a year 11 student at Palmerston College. I am a young Larrakia woman, born and raised in Darwin and I enjoy spending my time with family and friends.

I learnt about NTAHA through a friend of mine, as well as from the Girls Academy at school. I was a bit curious about going down a health pathway, and when I was given information about NTAHA, I soon enrolled in the program.

Being part of the NTAHA has changed me for the better, it has helped me to gain more knowledge on all aspects of health. I have become more organised and gained a lot of knowledge regarding my own health and that of my peers. Some of the topics I have learnt include work health and safety and nutrition.

Since joining NTAHA I still take an interest in health, but I am still unsure about the area of health I am most interested in working in. What makes me different from everyone else is I am normally a calm and quiet person who likes to spend time with others but also need time to myself. I am an organised and time efficient person when I need to be.

Porsche Cahill

My name is Porsche Cahill, and I am a year 11 student at Palmerston College.

I am an Ngombur woman from the Kakadu region. I was born in Adelaide and when I was about 6 months old I moved to the Northern Territory with my family.

I wish to become a health professional and work in many different fields of health. The NTAHA has helped and guided me to become a person that I aspire to be. I have grown tremendously since the start of the year, including my career aspirations and attitude by taking steps out of my comfort zone.

The most enjoyable moments for me are the little activities games, excursions, and group interactions. The highlight of this year during the academy was to make unforgettable connections through experiences with the staff and the rest of the Academy, and to learn more about myself and to see how far I and others have come from the start of the year.

I am still really interested in a career in the health industry because I not only get to care and help my family but I get to help other families, and the most rewarding feeling is knowing that you are changing Australians health status one person at a time, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as people from all other backgrounds.

My career goal is to finish school and then start working towards being a professional pharmacist. I would then like to move into a different part of health to further my skills and experience.

The advice I would like to give others is that the Academy allows you to grow and learn in a space that you are comfortable and safe in. The kind of support that the NTAHA gives is incredible down to the very little things like food, someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on & help with school work. The NTAHA supports you on a personal level and pushes you out of your comfort zone for the better.

In NTAHA all the girls stand out in their own unique way, but what makes me different from everybody else is that I have a lot of passion in what I love and care about.

Nakita Clancy

My name is Nakita Clancy and I am in year 11 at Palmerston College. I am a young Anmtjere women from Alice Springs and have grown up most my life in Darwin and enjoy reading and listening to music.

I joined the NTAHA because I had an interest in health and wanted to pursue opportunities within the Academy. Being part of NTAHA really helped me gain a lot of knowledge and experience about health and it has changed many viewpoints that I had on certain areas of my future career. Health was always something I had a slight interest in. Learning about the health of myself and others was intriguing, but I never really acted on the thought, as I didn’t know what pathway I wanted to undertake.

When the NTAHA was recommended to me by my school, I realised it was a something I could do. Now I know a lot more things health-wise and I’m glad I took the opportunity to join the Academy as a student. I look forward to the future and am keen to see what pathway I choose.”

Through the NTAHA I have gained knowledge and experience about many things in health such as cultural awareness and nutrition. I am still not sure what area of health I would like to move into when I finish school but I am keen to see what else I can learn and what role I can play that’ll give back to the community.

Gabrielle Da Costa

My name is Gabrielle Da Costa and I am a Kungarakun and Gurindji woman, and am in year 11 at Palmerston

College. I joined the NTAHA to kickstart a career in health, as I had an interest in health but wasn’t sure what it was like to work in the sector.

Being in the NTAHA has increased my knowledge and I have enjoyed getting away from school and experiencing working at the Batchelor Clinic.

In my spare time I like playing AFL and exercising when I am not injured and doing art, especially painting.

I am not sure on my career goal for after school, but I am working towards completing year 12 and possibly going to university.

Tianna Fitzgerald-Millar

Hi! My name is Tianna Fitzgerald-Millar, and I just graduated year 12 from SEDA (Sports Education and Development Australia). I am a proud Larrakia woman, born in Darwin, Northern Territory but raised all over Australia.

I joined the NTAHA in 2020 from the inspiration of my big brother Dom (2019 NTAHA graduate) in combination with a passion for my people’s health and wellbeing.

Being in the NTAHA has altered my perspectives on allied health professions and allowed me to grow and expand on my knowledge and love for aiding my Indigenous brothers and sisters in need.

My interests in health have only expanded as has my hopes for the future. Overall, I have most enjoyed meeting new people as well as being granted the opportunity to learn and grow in a culturally aware and safe environment, where I am heard and understood for who I am.

In the NTAHA I have been supported to overcome my social anxiety and to put myself in vulnerable situations such as new workplaces. I have developed personal characteristics, including but are not limited to, adaptability, dependability, honesty, and loyalty.

My hobbies include anything sports related. I spend most of my time on the footy field or netball courts. When I’m not playing sport, I’m chasing my brothers and sisters which, in my opinion, is more exercise than both sports combined.

I think that the thing that makes me different is my motives and the fact that everything I do is to make my mum proud and my brothers and sisters.

Laila Olm

My Name is Laila Olm, I’m 18 years of age, and I am graduating year 12 student at Good Sheppard Lutheran College in the Northern Territory. I’m a Yawuru Woman from Yawuru Country in Western Australia.

I joined the NTAHA because I was interested in getting a Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance to enable a future pathway for me in the health industry. The NTAHA has changed me for the better, challenging my knowledge and understanding of awareness of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture through to learning through case studies and practical for first-hand training.

Year 11 for me, was horrible. I barely showed up to school, handed in my assignments late, or not at all, and was not in the best mind space throughout the whole year. At the end of year 11 my career advisor said that at the rate I was going, I wouldn’t even be able to pass year 12 and get my NTCET.

Joining the NTAHA has allowed me to learn more effectively than learning and being taught in a mainstream school program. With NTAHA being a class of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, I felt that I would be more comfortable in this training space.

I have enjoyed doing my school-based traineeship with NTAHA and being hosted by Life Without Barriers. They have been great to work for and I have learnt so much from all the staff. I am still interested in pursuing a career in the health sector, especially Nursing and Paramedicine. The support from NTAHA has pointed me in the right direction for me to achieve my goals in my future pathway.

Toya Wilson-Norris

My name is Toya Rose Wilson-Norris, and I am a Warumungu women, born and raised in Darwin, Northern Territory and I am in year 11 at Palmerston College.

I joined the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Academy because I wanted a career in the health industry after school. When I heard about NTAHA, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for me. When I first started in

NTAHA, I was really shy and didn’t talk to anyone. I wasn’t attending school so being part of NTAHA helped me develop my confidence and leadership skills as well as helping me to re-engage back into school.

What I have enjoyed the most about attending NTAHA is meeting new people, making new friends, having the support from NTAHA staff, and eating the food they make us. While it has been a challenge for me to keep up with school and NTAHA, the staff have supported me and encouraged me along the way. NTAHA helped me with schoolwork, and they support me with things outside the classroom.

My future career goal is to help people in need, in whatever I end up doing. My advice to others joining NTAHA is don’t be quiet, find your voice in the classroom, get involved and be you.

Shakira Shields-Corp

Hi, my name is Shakira Shields-Corp, I am 17 years old and in year 11 at Palmerston College.

I was born and raised in Darwin NT and my mob are Malak Malak, Larrakia and the Warumungu people. My mum’s side is Larrakia and the Malak Malak mob and my dad’s side is the Warumungu mob.

I joined NTAHA because I didn’t know what I wanted to do after I left school, but health was on my list on what I wanted to do for a career, so when I found out about the NTAHA I thought ‘why don’t I give it a try?’

After I joined NTAHA they showed me all the different things in health I could learn, I decided that I wanted a career in health. I have enjoyed meeting new people, making new friends and learning about all the types of health and sickness that is out there.

The NTAHA has given me more confidence, I am more comfortable about opening up about myself and I like meeting new people. Before I started with NTAHA I didn’t really know how many types of health professions were out there. I have really enjoyed learning about all the different areas. I’m interested in health but I’m not 100% sure what I want to do yet. The NTAHA is supporting me with options I can pursue future possibilities.

Keneisha Riddle

Hi, my name is Keneisha Riddle, and I am a Iwaidja and Kunaarakan woman born and raised in Darwin,

Norther Territory and I am in year 11 at Palmerston College. I joined that the NTAHA because I wanted to learn new skills.

This year I have enjoyed learning all about the different areas in health. Being in the NTAHA I have become a lot more switched on about my own health as well as my family’s health. One of the highlights for me is have the support from the NTAHA team.

This is year I was diagnosed with a Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) after I was hurt playing rugby league. I have had to learn to walk, run and function my brain again. I haven’t been able to attend class since my accident for health reason but the NTAHA have stuck by me and kept me involved as much as they can, and that support has been deadly.

My advice others wanting to join the NTAHA is to give it a go as you well get deadly support from the team. I still want and career in health and my future goals are to finish my course and to referee at an NRL level.

What makes me different from everyone else is my sense of humour.

Lorraine Randall

Hi, my name is Lorraine Randall and I am a graduating year 12 student at Palmerston College.

I am a proud Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara woman, born and raised in the Northern Territory with family connections to Uluru, Mutitjulu, Badu Island and Pearce Point regions.

I joined the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Academy (NTAHA) to try something new. I wanted to gain experience in working in health and to be with my friends.

NTAHA has supported me so much all year and gave me the opportunity to start my career in health. It has made me more independent, confident, and focused, which I was not before joining NTAHA. With the support from NTAHA I’ve overcome a lot of challenges including my attendance to school.

I have had the best experience being part of NTAHA and learning about the health field. I have made new friends and met a lot of new people. I also enjoyed doing our training at Palmerston Rydges during the COVID period.

My career goal upon completion of my NTAHA training is to do my Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance. I want to work in remote Aboriginal communities to make a difference in Aboriginal health.

Outside of NTAHA I play AFL for Palmerston Magpies. I enjoy fishing, listening to Fleetwood Mac with my mum and spending time with my family and friends.

What makes me different from everyone else is “My Culture, My Country, My Story”.

My advice to others wanting to join NTAHA is “you will have lots of different opportunities in health and the team is very supportive”.

Kerryilee Raymond

Hey, I’m Kerryilee Raymond I am in year 11 at Marrara Christian college. I come from a small remote community town of Kulumindini (Elliott) NT, my people are Muburra, Jingili, Wombaya and Warumungu.

I like to go fishing, hunting, painting, eating bush food and collecting bush medicine. Every weekend me and my family go out bush collecting bush food & medicine to make so, if we get sick, we can use bush medicine instead of going to the health centre.

I joined NTAHA because the academy staff came to my school and talked to me about joining and I was really interested. I have wanted to learn about health so I can make a change in my community because they need Indigenous people working in remote community.

From NTAHA staff I get a lot of support and advice in how to achieve my goals. Before I joined the program, I was shy and didn’t want to talk to anyone but now we are talking to each other in the program. The academy staff encouraged me to work with the other students and get to know them. I have been become friends now with the other students.

During COVID-19 I returned to my home community which was in a bio-security area and was not allowed to return to school. I missed a full term of classes but the academy staff stayed in touch with me checked on me so they can see how I was doing.

What I have enjoyed most about coming the Academy is coming 2 days a week learning about something new and Tuesday and Wednesday are my favourite days of the week when I get to see all the lovely ladies.

When I finish school, I want to work back in remote community as an alcohol & other drugs counsellor. I know there’s are lot of young teenagers who need support to reach their potential and to stop harming their lives with alcohol and drugs.

My advice if you are interested in a career in health, the NTAHA is perfect to join. They will teach you about working in health and help you get a job.

Elyssia Tallon Rosas

Hi, my name is Elyssia Tallon Rosas and I am a Wardaman and Dagomon women from Katherine, Northern Territory and I am in year 11 at Haileybury Rendall School.

I have always been interested in the health field for a career when I finish school. When I found out about NTAHA and that I had the opportunity to be part of the program, I thought it would be a great eye-opener to help me decide if this is where I would like to have a career after school.

Within the NTAHA I have developed my leadership skills and confidence a lot, thanks to the team making it a safe place for me to do so. Now I can speak and ask questions to any guest speakers and talk up in front of the group.

What I enjoy most about NTAHA is meeting new people and creating some incredible memories and lifelong friends. I have had so much support from NTAHA staff, and I have enjoyed learning lots of new things every week. When I finish school, I want to study further and work in remote primary health care and help people in needs.

Sarcora Giles-Morcom

Hi, My name is Sarcora Giles-Morcom, and my family are from Borroloola, Elliot and have connections to Tiwi Islands.

I was born and raised in Darwin, Norther Territory and I am in year 12 at Taminmin College.

I joined that the NTAHA to try something new. This year I have enjoyed learning skills and meeting new people.

Being in the NTAHA I have gained more confidence and have had to overcome my shyness doing public speaking. I’m not completely sure if I’m still interested in a health career. I enjoy sports, fishing, drawing/painting and hunting.

What makes me different from everyone else is my resilience, empathy and I’m a caring person.