By Lucy Kirk
It was an emotional afternoon recently for 21 graduates, who undertook either a Certificate 4 or Diploma in Community Services under the Western Plains Regional Development Suicide Prevention Workforce Capacity Building Project.
The graduation luncheon and ceremony were held at the recently reopened Imperial hotel on Thursday, 17 June, providing the students, tutors and coordinators one last chance to celebrate their notable achievements.
Workforce Training Coordinator, Julie Hague, explained that the Primary Health Network commissioned WPRD back in 2018 to run the program for students who might otherwise not have had the opportunity to complete the qualifications.
“Whether that’s because they’re rural and remote or because of culture or education … some students overcome barriers such as computer use, literacy and numeracy, self confidence and more.”
The program provides scholarships to students located in six different trial sites: Lachlan, Weddin, Cobar, Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett local government areas. It is a fantastic opportunity for students of any background to obtain the qualifications suitable for employment in suicidal prevention roles.
The students gave immensely positive feedback about the program, acknowledging that although it came with its challenges, it left them with an incredibly gratifying feeling to now be able to apply for jobs they have always wanted, and get them.
“It’s been the most positive thing I’ve done in a long time… I just wished I had been able to do it 30 years ago, but the opportunity wasn’t there,” said local student Pam Brown.
With 97 per cent of graduates now employed in the industry, the program has been granted funding for another year.