Jacob Keed is a driven man. He’s helping the most vulnerable of his mob remain connected to the community, while busy studying so he can continue to help in the future.
Jacob, a Wiradjuri and Kamiloroi man living in Canberra, works for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community bus service, transporting local Indigenous people to everything from appointments to cultural activities.
“We drive people wherever they need to go, including after hours. I’ve driven people to appointments, NAIDOC Week and Reconciliation Week activities and funeral services,” Jacob said.
“I really enjoy the work as it is much more than being a bus driver. We are someone you can talk to and we won’t judge you. The best part of the job is getting to know our clients and becoming a part of their lives and I get a lot of satisfaction when I hear what changes I have made to the lives of people I drive around.
“One unemployed single mother who didn’t have transport felt cut off from the world. Because of our relationship with other community groups, we were able to link her to the services she needed and now she has a job and is getting out in the community and has a completely new life.”
Jacob hasn’t just limited his support for his community to driving them around, as he is busy gaining qualifications and experience to ensure he can help in other ways as well. He has completed a Certificate IV in Drug and Alcohol and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment at the Canberra Institute of Technology.
“I decided to study Drug and Alcohol to give me a background into what some of our more vulnerable clients are facing and Training and Assessment because I want to have the skills to train people so they can reach their potential,” Jacob said.
He is also planning on studying a Certificate IV in Government in order to learn the machinations of government and what he can do to build better relations between government and Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
For the time being though, Jacob is relishing his role driving marginalised locals to a better life.