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Last week Souths Cares’ Liverpool Opportunity Hub teamed up with the University of Sydney (USYD) to showcase tertiary education pathways and student life to 12 students from Good Samaritan Catholic College and Patrician Brothers Fairfield College.

The University’s ‘Ngara Future Focus’ program was developed to provide Year 9 and Year 10 students with the opportunity to taste campus life and build their tertiary education aspirations prior to commencing their HSC studies. Ngara translates to ‘Listen, Hear, Think’ in the language of the Gadigal people and emphasizes the values behind the initiative.

Leroy Fernando is an Indigenous Student Recruitment Assistant who participated in a similar initiative whilst attending high school and now works for USYD promoting the benefits of tertiary education. He explained the opportunity to visit University can have a profound impact on high school students.

“Eye opening experiences such as our on-campus programs have the chance to change the lives of our young people for the better.

After coming full circle, I am now working on the current on-campus experiences for mob, which allows me to share my story in the hope to inspire others to see what is possible with a University education”, Leroy said.

The campus tour commenced in the New Law Building, where students were introduced to the Indigenous student recruitment team and then participated in a group workshop exploring how dreams and aspirations can inform and shape career trajectories.

After the workshop the group enjoyed a morning tea provided by Goanna Hut – an Aboriginal owned catering company which specializes in bush-tucker fused with modern pastries.

Following morning tea, students and staff explored some of the University’s iconic buildings. First stop was the Nano Science Hub, which is currently undertaking a number of cutting-edge medical research projects.

Next stop on the tour was the Manning Building, which is home to many different food outlets and the hub for University social life, live music and entertainment.

The group then explored the University’s famous graffiti tunnel which was started during the Vietnam War as a way for students to voice their opinions and continues to be place for artistic expression for current students.

The last stop on the tour was the Gadigal Centre where Jane Stanley (Gadigal Centre Director) and Jay Edwards (Gadigal Advancement Officer) discussed the broad range of study options available through USYD and the support and guidance which the Gadigal Centre provides Indigenous students whilst they complete their degrees.

Bianca Williams, Liverpool Opportunity Hub Program Coordinator is a former USYD student and staff member. She explained visiting the University was about inspiring students whilst getting them out of their comfort zones.

“Graduating from the University of Sydney has been one of my proudest achievements to date. I’m hoping my experience can inspire our students to see there is whole world outside of what we know that is accessible through higher education”, Bianca said.

Serena Roa is Year 9 student at Good Samaritan Catholic College and enjoyed the opportunity to tour the University campus.

“It’s great they have programs like the Ngara Future Focus that make it accessible and a real option for us to study here in the future. A highlight for me was the workshop about living your life with purpose and pursuing your passions through study’.

The Liverpool Opportunity Hub is proudly supported by Training Services NSW.

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