Indigenous Scholarship Leadership Forum 2023

We were incredibly proud to welcome 33 First Nations scholarship recipients to the annual Indigenous Scholarship Leadership Forum. The conference, held in Turrbal and Jagera Country (Brisbane), was a great occasion to gather Indigenous Scholarship Program students, acknowledge their achievements, and forge connections.

During two intense days, scholarship recipients mingled, grew their professional network, enhanced their leadership skills, and heard from several inspiring speakers.

Day one started with a networking breakfast and a welcome speech from Leann Carsburg, Waalitj Foundation’s Program Manager. Leann – a proud Wakka Wakka woman – pointed out how privileged she felt to meet the talented recipients in person and see the amazing things they’re achieving in their studies and qualifications journeys.

“It’s a great honour to be involved in the program and see recipients flourish thanks to their hard work, resilience, and dedication.

“It’s satisfying to see how the program acts as a platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to find long-lasting and fulfilling career paths. 

“It’s wonderful to stand in front of the role models and leaders of the future”.

Attendees heard from several speakers, including Waalitj Foundation’s Gohar Rind, Carly Davis, and CEO, Lisa Cunningham, as well as representatives from natural gas industry leader and program supporter, Shell QGC, who spoke on the work of Shell QGC, life as an employee at the company, and potential career pathways within the business and their supply chain.

Several break-out sessions were run where participants could seek guidance on work/life balance issues and effective study, as well as get to know members of the Shell QGC Human Resources team.

Amongst the highlights was the highly anticipated keynote from 12-time national hurdles champion, Olympian, and Australian record holder Kyle Vander Kuyp. Kyle is a descendant of the Yuin Clan of South Coast NSW and the Woromi Clan of North Coast NSW, and his passion for providing mentorship to Indigenous youth was evident throughout his keynote. During his session, Kyle answered questions from the enthusiastic crowd, covering his sporting career and advocacy work for First Nations people.

Actor, screenwriter, producer, and director Aaron Fa’aoso did a great job emceeing the event.

The Indigenous Scholarship Program, delivered by the Waalitj Foundation in partnership with Shell’s QGC business, aims to increase First Nations Australians with tertiary and trade qualifications. Currently, 68 young Indigenous people are going through the scholarship program, gaining the skills to become job ready.

The program is facilitated by local First Nations mentors who utilise their contextual and cultural understanding to provide individual mentoring for each participant. For more information about the Indigenous Scholarship Program, click here.

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