Local Solutions

Ashlen's success after Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme

A young Indigenous woman with bushland in the background


Ashlen Foster-Britton has shown that some hard work and dedication can lead to a great future in the Australian Public Service

An 18 year old Wiradjuri woman from Queanbeyan in New South Wales, Ashlen was determined to set herself up for a successful future, and saw the Australian Government’s Work Exposure with Government Programme (WEX) a fantastic opportunity for her.

WEX is designed to give Year 11 and 12 students the opportunity to learn about the Australian Parliament and developing careers in the Australian Public Service. While with WEX, Ashlen learnt of the Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme, which is designed to provide a pathway for Indigenous Australians to start their career in the Australian Public Service.

Determined to set herself up for the future, she applied for a position in the programme and was successful.

“I wanted to gain a placement in the Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme because I have a passion for Indigenous Affairs and wanted to be in a position where I could contribute and make a difference in Indigenous lives,” Ashlen said.

Acknowledging the adjustment from a school to a working environment, Ashlen says it was a positive change with the programme offering a mix of ongoing employment and structured learning.

“Even though it was hard to adjust to a completely different environment the experience has given me the opportunity to learn new skills,” Ashlen said.

“I really enjoy the work and find it interesting and rewarding to learn about how policies and programmes are developed in government.”

Juggling her full-time role with studies, Ashlen has now successfully completed a Diploma in Government. She has also been heavily involved in raising funds for a local Canberra Aboriginal Youth Centre and last year Ashlen was nominated for the NAIDOC Youth of the Year Award, recognising her leadership and contributions to the Queanbeyan community.

Ashlen has big plans to build on her early success and encourage other youth to follow their dreams.

“My long-term aspiration is to become an Aboriginal Education Officer and guide other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in the right direction to achieve their goals with a little hard work,” Ashlen said.