Tamworth Opportunity Hub Lifts Off

Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) is at the centre of a new one-stop shop for students and young people to connect with employment, mentorship, traineeship, scholarship and volunteering opportunities.

It is one of the four Opportunity Hubs established across the state to provide support in education and employment for young Aboriginal people.

Tamworth LALC CEO Fiona Snape said the Tamworth Opportunity Hub won’t create any new programs but will link existing ones in a one-stop shop. “Opportunity Hubs co-ordinate and match training with jobs and provide support for students career pathways as an incentive to stay at school,” she said.

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Making the Opportunity Hub tick! L-R Tamworth LALC Administration Assistant Brittni Wann, Opportunity Hub Co-ordinator Simon Munro, LALC Trainee Lakeisha Hile, LALC CEO Fiona Snape, LALC Chairperson Harry Cutmore, LALC board member Yvonne Kent, Opportunity Hub case workers Pat Strong and Tom Flanders Jnr at the Opportunity Hub launch.
Tamworth LALC has partnered with eight other organisations – Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Tamworth Family Support, Careers Network, Joblink Plus, Centacare New England Northwest including Headspace, Aboriginal Employment Strategy Ltd and Tamworth Regional Council – to help guide the local students through the jobs and education maze.

LALC staff and Board know that culture, identity and connection to country are vital to helping our young people in education and employment.

Tom Flanders and Pat Strong are the case workers at the Opportunity Hub. They are both well known as role models and for their work in the community and the Tamworth Opportunity Hub is the only one operated by an Aboriginal community-controlled organisation.

Opportunity Hub co-ordinator Simon Munro said the Hub will provide mentoring and support for students every step of the way. “We’re not just here for students but for their families as well as for business, education and jobs providers,” he said.

You only had to look around the huge crowd at the launch of the Tamworth Opportunity Hub to see the support and interest this project has generated in town. NSWALC Northern region Councillor, Tom Briggs was there in support and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Victor Dominello, Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson and the federal MP Barnaby Joyce, were also in attendance.

Minister Dominello said there are 1000 Aboriginal students from years 5 to 12 across 33 primary and secondary schools in the region which he described as a powerful force for change.

“You are not just our future, as many politicians like to say,” he said to the students in the large crowd, “but you are our present. And we need to engage you now, not tomorrow.”

Check out more info on Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Opportunity Hub here.

Binaalbaa Aboriginal Learning Centre at Tamworth TAFE.
Tom Flanders and Pat Strong dancing up the dust with students from five local high schools at the Opportunity Hub launch at Binaalbaa Aboriginal Learning Centre at Tamworth TAFE.

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