Indigenous teacher program produces first graduates


Five aspiring teachers have graduated today from Kangan Institute’s new training and assessment program tailored for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners.

The graduates – Caroline Tarran, Colin Atkinson, Trakka Clarkson, Charmaine Hamilton and Richie Kennedy – completed a contextualised version of Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, a course designed to equip students with a qualification to teach.

Designed by training and assessment teachers in collaboration with Kangan Institute’s Indigenous Education Centre and former students, the program offers a culturally safe learning experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are training to be teachers.

Kangan Institute chief executive Sally Curtain said the course, which aligns to the Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, is a significant step towards closing a vital skills gap within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Graduates Caroline Tarran and Trakka Clarkson with Kangan Institute’s CEO Sally Curtain, and training and assessment educators and Indigenous Education Centre staff

“Congratulations and well done to the first teacher graduates from our one-of-a-kind training program,” said Ms Curtain.

“Improving access to education and meaningful employment, raising cultural awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and working towards a reconciled and equitable Australia are key priorities for Kangan Institute.

“Education is at the very core of this commitment, with the Victorian Government’s Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan 2016-2026 outlining a need to attract and retain more Koorie people to work as teachers in vocational education and training.

“Our unique program addresses this critical need, and as qualified trainers and assessors, our graduates are now equipped to drive meaningful and lasting change within the community.”

Delivered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, course participants were based across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. Students were able to access culturally tailored mentoring and guidance from Kangan Institute’s Indigenous Education Centre at any point during their studies.

“These students have embraced remote learning and have continued to thrive. Their success is an absolute reflection of their commitment to learn,” said Ms Curtain.

“Their achievements also demonstrate the creativity and passion of our educators and Indigenous Education team who continue to support our students despite challenges and disruptions from the pandemic.”

Kangan Institute launched its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in August 2021, outlining actions towards achieving its vision for reconciliation. The plan includes a commitment to restoring First Nations people to a place of equity and ensuring cultural safety and awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student needs.

The graduation ceremony was held today at Kangan Institute’s Indigenous Education Centre in Broadmeadows campus. Planning is underway to offer the program next year, with Certificate IV in Training and Assessment part of the 2022 list of Free TAFE courses.