“I feel more confident, and there is more opportunity for me,” says Dakota, from Woorabinda, in Central Queensland.
For First Nations youth living in remote Australia, the transition from school to further education and employment is a lot more challenging to navigate than their peers in the city. Systemic, structural and geographical barriers mean it is harder to get the necessary identification, skills and training.
But with the right support that is culturally safe, young people can flourish and reach their goals.
Dakota has already gained an impressive list of achievements, thanks to a new initiative by the Community Spirit Foundation and supported by UNICEF Australia.
The Sprints Passport Program provides 15 to 18-year-olds with access to short education and training courses. This provides them with skills and certifications that support them transition into employment. The program also helps build their confidence and resilience.
Dakota was mentored and supported by the Community Spirit Foundation team while she finished a barista course and as she started a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation.
"I was really nervous, but they were there to encourage me. They told me I can do anything."
Dakota has her sights set on being a youth worker and recently applied for a traineeship at the local youth club. She was also selected to play for the Indigenous Rugby Sevens team.
The first step to supporting young people in remote communities is to help them obtain personal identification documents, such as birth certificates, driver's licences and Unique Student Identifiers (USI), which they need to enrol in registered training courses and secure employment.
Putting young First Nations People in the driver's seat
Community Spirit Foundation is supporting First Nations young people in Woorabinda to gain driving credentials, in partnership with UNICEF Australia.
Woorabinda Elder Anthony Henry says the program is uniting the community.
“We have to build the pathways for our grandchildren,” says Anthony. “This program puts a fire in their belly.”
Over the past 12 months, the program has supported 30 young people to gain identification, further education and certifications, helping them transition from school to the workforce.
Empowered with knowledge, young people like Dakota can build a future for themselves and their families of their making.
Stay up-to-date on UNICEF's work in Australia and around the world
25 Nov 2023
Leading the way for a good cause
How trekking along Aussie hilltops helps kids around the world
13 Nov 2023
Hear from three UNICEF voices on the ground in Gaza
As the conflict in Gaza continues, UNICEF is there for every child, no matter what.
26 Oct 2023
Teaching the next generation in Laos
Being a teacher is a big responsibility but comes with a lifetime of big smiles.
17 Oct 2023
These are the children of Gaza
Our hearts are breaking with and for the children of Israel and Gaza, after the ongoing crisis escalated dramatically on 7 October 2023.
11 Oct 2023
These young changemakers are paving a better future for girls in Cambodia
Hear from two incredible girls in conversation with UNICEF Ambassador and Olympian Emma McKeon.
20 Sept 2023
This is what climate change looks like around the world
Over one billion children around the world are at extremely high risk of the impacts of climate change. That is nearly half of the world's children. And it is happening today.
13 Sept 2023
Libya flood crisis: what you need to know
From the recent earthquake in Morocco to the unfolding tragedy in Libya, UNICEF is always there to help children and families recover from crises.
9 Sept 2023
Children in crisis: earthquake in Morocco
As stories of heartbreak and survival emerge from the devastating earthquake in Morocco, thousands of children and families remain at risk. Before, during and after an emergency UNICEF is always there.
24 Aug 2023
Five ways you can support LGBTIQA+ children’s mental health
This Wear it Purple day, find out how you can support and celebrate diversity.
13 Aug 2023
Two years on, the crisis continues for children in Afghanistan
It has been two years since the Taliban seized power, yet Afghanistan - already marked by decades of insecurity and natural disasters - is still in crisis.
6 Aug 2023
Burundi: the country where young people are leading climate action
From rocket stoves to sustainable agriculture, young people are shaping futures for the next generation