For 19 year old Kelli Gunter from Ceduna on South Australia’s west coast, studying in Adelaide would be great, if she could just survive there.
Having completed Year 12 at Immanuel College in Adelaide with the support of The Smith Family funded by the Australian Government through the Indigenous Youth Leadership Programme, Kelli applied to do a Bachelor of Psychological Science at Flinders University.
However, living in Adelaide prior to commencing the course was difficult for Kelli.
“I struggled to financially support myself and I was unable to find reliable accommodation for the duration of my studies,” Kelli said.
“For this reason I decided to move back to Ceduna after graduating and deferred my degree for a gap year.”
Determined to be independent and able to financially support herself while studying, Kelli heard about and applied for assistance through the Indigenous Youth Mobility Pathways (IYMP) project delivered by Career Employment Australia and funded by the IAS Children and Schooling Programme.
The IYMP is for Indigenous young people aged 16 to 24, primarily from remote areas, who choose to move away from home to gain qualifications which will help them secure employment and better serve the community.
The objectives of the project include helping young people complete Year 12 or an equivalent vocational course and improving pathways to post-secondary vocational training, tertiary study or apprenticeships.
They are also about offering safe and supported culturally appropriate accommodation and facilitating pathways to sustainable employment.
Currently back in Adelaide and receiving the assistance she sought, Kelli is studying a Certificate 3 in Business Administration. She also works fulltime for the IYMP as an admin trainee, gaining essential work experience in the process.
“I am now able to afford accommodation and can financially support myself as an independent on the program,” Kelli said.
But the program isn’t just about accommodation.
“By joining IYMP I am able to make use of laptops and the internet which are vital necessities to complete my studies. Fortnightly food vouchers and budgeting support have made living on my own in Adelaide possible,” Kelli said
She said that thanks to the Aboriginal support team at Flinders University she now enjoys the moral support necessary to complete the certificate.
“I have gained the confidence in my own strength and abilities and now have the faith and determination to begin tertiary studies,” Kelli said.
“As I was still unsure about what I wanted to study, IYMP has allowed me to find my true passion and that’s working with young people. I now want to begin my studies at Flinders University and study a Bachelor of Social Work to become a qualified Social Worker.”