IEC graduate Fatai Veamatahau makes the top 8 on The Voice
A big congratulations to one of the IEC's most talented graduates, Fatai Veamatahau, for making it as a top 8 finalist on Channel 9's The Voice.
Fatai is of Tongan descent, but has lived her whole life in Australia. Her love of music began in church, where her father was the choir conductor. Fatai sang with her father at major events such as the opening of Federation Square. She's also an accomplished solo artist - she writes, composes and records her own material.
Music Coordinator Michael Burke said that Fatai always had a great attitude as a student and he could see future success in her.
"As her guitar teacher, Fatai was a pleasure to teach in 2011," he said.
"She had a great attitude, was always willing to learn and was also a great support to our other Music students. She joined the courses as a singer who played the guitar but it was her ability as a songwriter that really stood out for me. She was always pushing the boundaries and writing new melodies which were very inspiring for all our students."
When asked if he saw potential in her, Michael was quick to point out Fatai's natural talents.
"I knew I saw a star in Fatai the day she auditioned in mid-2011. She performed one of her original songs, 'I wonder' which is still one of my favourite songs. I was so impressed at how she had written this song and the tender age of 16.
"I got Fatai involved in as many performances through the IEC's Music program to expose her raw talent and last year she graduated from our Certificate II in Music course. She is now being exposed to the entire nation and we are very proud of her. I wish her all the very best for the future and when she becomes famous, we'll be able to say, we were part of her success!"
The Voice judge Seal chose to turn his chair around and have Fatai as part of his team, as he was captured by her beautiful voice. She's gone from strength to strength after that captivating momentmoment; enthralling Australia with her beautiful voice.
Fatai recently performed for Kangan Institute at the 2012 Flower and Garden show. She's a Certificate II in Music Industry (IEC) graduate. This is what she had to say about her time with us:
"The Certificate II in Music Industry at Kangan Institute is a great foundation course. It helps with gaining pathways to studying at a higher level or even with the knowledge to enter the industry. I'd definitely recommend the course -- great teachers, great students and a great vibe. It's an honour to have the opportunity to sing at the 2012 Flower and Garden Show today!"
We wish Fatai all the very best of luck on the show and look forward to seeing her blossom with subsequent success.
Watch Fatai's audition video below:
Award win for IEC role model
Greg Kennedy is another of the numerous success stories to emerge from the Indigenous Education Centre (IEC) at Kangan Institute's Broadmeadows campus.
At a ceremony held on April 19, Greg, a staff member at the IEC, was one of 12 young Victorian Indigenous people were recognised at the annual Ricci Marks Aboriginal Young Achiever Award ceremony. He received one of the 2011 Ricci Marks Aboriginal Young Achiever Awards from Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Jeanette Powell.
The Victorian Government provides this award to recognise the challenges many young Indigenous people must overcome to reach their life goals and true potential.
Greg grew up in Robinvale before moving to Melbourne to pursue education and employment opportunities. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Business (Management) and working at Kangan Institute as a business development officer at the IEC.
He is a positive role model for other young people in the Aboriginal community who have overcome adversity to reach the success they deserve.
"Receiving this recognition has filled me with a sense of pride that I can harness in my day-to-day work, which can only be beneficial for the community," he said.
Students at the IEC learn through a combination of classroom, practical and online learning. These include art exhibitions, music festivals, community projects, and the use of multimedia resources and electronic learning packages.
The IEC is committed to providing each student with education and training opportunities which set and maintain standards of excellence based on quality program delivery and support, cultural integrity, professional commitment, and articulated pathways into further education and training and employment opportunities.
Upon completion of a course, students will receive on-going support including help finding employment in their area of study.
For information on the IEC or how to increase Indigenous employment in your workforce, you can contact the IEC office on 03 9279 2357 or email IEC.
Top honours for Rory
A less-than-ideal educational journey as a child was the impetus behind Rory Smeaton's drive to succeed. Where others may have let aspirations of higher education fall by the wayside, Rory's end-goal has always been in sight.
As a staff member at Kangan Institute's Indigenous Education Centre, Rory is all about embracing challenges, motivating others and helping our students aim high.
His efforts were recognised when he took out top honours as the Victorian Koorie Student of the Year category at the annual Victorian Training Awards.
Held each year to recognise outstanding achievement in the vocational education and training sector, the awards are always hotly contested by the best in the business.
Without much confidence he would come through with the win, Rory attended the ceremony held at Crown Casino and says he was a bit lost for words when his name was announced.
"I was up against three other people and was completely not expecting to win the category," he says.
"I think I was in shock. At best I think I wanted to cry with happiness but I didn't know what to do. I'm still really surprised at the reaction from everyone at the ceremony - they were all saying how well I did.
"There were a lot of managers and CEOs at the evening, and many of them came and congratulated me after the win."
Rory was nominated for the award by Swinburne TAFE, where he completed his Diploma of Youth Work in 2009.
As a child, Rory says he had a number of negative educational experiences, showing a high level of maturity to overcome these challenges.
"I had a dream to engage in higher education and a genuine commitment to make a positive impact on other young Indigenous people," he says.
"This motivated me to successfully complete a Certificate IV in Youth Work in 2008. I then went on to the diploma, and now I'm working as an indigenous liaison officer at Kangan Institute.
"My family and my educational journey have had such a positive impact on me that I now have the confidence and self esteem to push myself and embrace the challenges and responsibilities of my role."
With his award and a handy prize cheque under his belt - which will go to the purchase of a car and make the daily commute to work much easier - Rory's goal of helping other young indigenous people achieve great things remains a strong driving force.
"I just want to keep doing what I do; supporting indigenous students though courses and helping them with any issues they have, and just trying to make a difference," he says.
Kangan Institute's hospitality student and Crown Casino trainee Mandie Hambridge was also honoured at the Victorian Training Awards, reaching the finalist stage of the Victorian Trainee of the Year category.
Certificate I in Information Technology
Winner of Gunung-Willam-Bulluk-Uncle Norm Hunter Award 2011
When Dyllan was growing up, he moved with his family from state to state. This was a difficult period is his life, but he learned much from the experiences. From the beginning of 2010, he moved from Mount Gambier (in South Australia) to Melbourne. That's when he found Kangan Institute's Indigenous Education Centre (IEC) and enrolled in the Certificate I in IT as well as VCAL.
After playing football for a while, Dyllan decided that he should put together his own football club with the aim providing some good-will service for the community. He wanted to give back some support, in the same way that it was shown to him.
"We're called the Hume Indigenous Bombers and I'm the general manager," he said.
"We take indigenous students off the street and get them into sports and to participate in a group - to feel like they belong. It's been a long journey to get here."
Dyllan is also looking into developing a 'raise your voice" project. It will involve role-plays (at community centres and schools) about domestic violence to raise awareness about the issue in our community.
Noting that most of the attention is placed on raising awareness among adults, Dyllan hopes "to raise awareness among the youth".
Reflecting on what motivates him, he says that the other youth he regularly encounters are his main source of inspiration.
"Even though they come from disadvantaged backgrounds, it inspires me how they can rise up and get their life back on track."
Dyllan has recently become an IT trainee at Hume City Council as part of the support team covering the whole of the Hume region.
After taking his first steps with Kangan Institute, Dyllan hopes to go to university to attain a Bachelor Degree in Information Technology. He's got a bright future ahead of him!
Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
Harold Richards Student of the Year
Gold Medallion winner
Joanne completed her Certificate IV in Training and Assessment in December 2010 at Kangan Institute's Indigenous Education Centre (IEC).
The second youngest of five siblings, her mother is part of the Stolen Generation.
Joanne struggled early in life and by the age of thirteen had left school due to bad experiences in her primary and secondary education which led to living on the streets of Geelong until the age of 15.
Fortunately, Joanne met a person from her tribal group that helped take her off the streets and assisted her in reconnecting to her cultural identity. She then had two children and returned to study at the age of twenty-four.
She completed three Diplomas (Frontline Management, Welfare Studies and Community Development) and worked in the health and welfare field for over twenty years.
Through completing the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment in 2010, she now teaches at the IEC and lectures at RMIT in Indigenous Studies/Social Work.
Joanne is also part of the Local Indigenous Network (LIN) for the western suburbs. "Growing up, I experienced a lot of racism - there were no Aboriginal Liaison Officers when I was going to school," she said.
"I wanted to get involved and become active with children's lives, so I joined LIN."
Joanne is striving to fulfil her vision of delivering training back to her community in order to empower Indigenous students. Through her own experiences she believes she can act as a mentor to other Aboriginal people and to her hometown in the future - doing her part for the bigger picture.
Certificate III in Children's Services
Winner of Harold Richards Student of the Year 2011
Kimberly commenced her studies at the Indigenous Education Centre (IEC) in 2004 after completing Year 10. Kim was often at the IEC throughout the week and she encouraged the other students with their work and chatted to them about their career options.
She completed her Certificate III in Children's Services in 2011 and began working part-time at Yabra Children's Services. Meanwhile, she's also decided to take her education further by commencing a Bachelor of Early Years with Deakin University - all while taking care of her daughter and niece at home.
After studying at Kangan Institute, Kimberly says her attitude to things has changed.
"I guess I've achieved a better outlook and better ways to try and fulfil the things I want to achieve," she said.
"Since I was 16 I've worked with aboriginal children. That's one of the main things I think I've achieved from studying. It's given me a better way of doing things and it has opened doors for me in regards to job opportunities."
Kim prides herself on being a strong aboriginal woman and consistently spoke her mind respectfully when she was undertaking her studies at the IEC. She also had a distinct flare for ensuring that the younger students were heard and felt respected.
One of Kim's long term goals is to enhance the lives of young aboriginal children through education and personal involvement.
"I want to try and get people to have a higher expectation of Aboriginal children, because people do lower their expectations and it may hinder the children's chances of successfully achieving things as they grow up," she said.
Given her successful track record, we're certain Kim will accomplish anything she puts her mind to.
Certificate III in Music
Arnold Davis Memorial Award
Makita is an empowered Indigenous singer/songwriter that has always had a strong passion for music. She is a single mother to a three-year-old son and has endured financial hardship and personal trauma throughout the years.
Rather than giving up on her dreams, Makita has defied expectations by continuing to devote her time and energy to writing music.
Makita has come a long way since joining the Indigenous Education Centre to study music. With a Certificate II in Music already behind her, Makita is now completing her Certificate III in Music at the Kangan Institute.
From the beginning, she has always been dedicated to her education and making it in the music industry. She attends all classes, continues to write songs on a daily basis, and has participated in a variety of musical performances and music showcases.
According to the other students and teachers, Makita has many leadership skills and she has inspired others to write their own music. Many look up to her as a role model, as a young mother determined to succeed in life.
"Certificate I and II students look up to me because I'm the oldest," she said.
"I've helped fellow students and offered advice on things like song-writing. It made me feel really good about myself too."
Once her studies are complete at Kangan, Makita hopes to one day continue studying at university level. Makita also intends to record an album of original material to promote her songs and to eventually become a music teacher/singing coach.