Indigenous VET students are doing awesome things in STEM

jadhai-vigona-awards
Jahdai Vigona of the Tiwi Islands, won this year’s award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year. Image: NT Training Awards

An indigenous health researcher and apprentice electrician are among the STEM students honoured at this year’s Northern Territory Training Awards

Need more proof that you don’t have to go to university to land an awesome next-gen STEM career? 

The Northern Territory Training Awards celebrates the achievements of students and teachers in the VET (Vocational Education & Training) sector.

Now in its 66th year, the ceremony recognises the outstanding contributions made by local trainees, apprentices, employers and training providers – most of who kickstarted alternative pathways after high school. 

Health science goals 

Among this year’s winners is Tiwi Islander and Charles Darwin University student Jahdai Vigona, who won this year’s award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year after picking up Trainee of the Year and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year at the GTNT Awards earlier this year.

Jahdai is currently working at the Menzies School of Health Research as a project assistant with the Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing. He completed a Certificate III in Community Services and is currently finishing a Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs and a ‘Certificate IV in Mental Health.

Jahdai said he’s passionate about health care, especially for First Nations peoples.

“I want to contribute to my community and to Aboriginal social and emotional health and wellbeing. I feel that these qualifications will open higher education pathways for me that could lead anywhere,” Jahdai said.

Trades + tech

Another awesome student celebrated was Austin Asch Apprentice of the Year Savanne Canobie – a graduate of CDU’s electrotechnology training. The Nhulunbuy local said she was drawn to the electrical trade in high school.

“I enjoyed math and physics and I didn’t want to get stuck behind a desk, so this was an ideal direction for me,” Savanne said.

“I completed my apprenticeship with Rio Tinto here in Nhulunbuy and I’m currently working with the high voltage department.”

Savanne is continuing her CDU studies with a Certificate III in Instrumentation and Control, a course whose graduates are in high demand.

Category winners and runners-up share in cash prizes and some—including Jahdai– will have the opportunity to represent the NT at the Australian Training Awards.

Already inspired to explore non-uni pathways? The full list of winners are here.

READ MORE: 

Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.

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