Photo of Kashia in the office, smiling at the camera.

Kashia finds her feet as first Indigenous Apprentice in IT

When Kashia Collins decided to return to the workforce after having her son, she applied for the Australian Government Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme, not knowing where the programme would take her. Now, Kashia has become the first Indigenous Apprentice in IT at the Department of Human Services.

The Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme provides an entry point for Indigenous people seeking a career in the Australian Public Service.

Originally from the North Burnett Region of Queensland and later growing up in Maryborough, Kashia proudly shares her father is a Gooreng Gooreng man and her mother a Djakunda woman, both hailing from around the Burnett area.

Applying for the Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme was much less daunting than Kashia expected, and she said she is amazed by the support she has been given throughout the programme. Kashia is now working in the IT project management team in Brisbane.

“The IT field is completely new to me, and everyone has been really encouraging,” Kashia said.

“People genuinely want to help you grow, and I enjoy stepping up to the challenges my team gives me.”

“The apprenticeship has built my confidence and assertiveness, and I’ve learned so much about project management and dealing with people from different backgrounds.”

Indigenous Apprentices complete a Diploma of Government as part of the programme, which Kashia said gave her useful insights into many aspects of work in the Australian Public Service. Kashia was also matched up with a mentor who has supported her while she found her feet in her new role.

“I’m very lucky to have a mentor as well as other colleagues who have given me guidance and support,” Kashia said. “I also keep in regular contact with the other Indigenous Apprentices across the country – it’s a great support network.”

During NAIDOC Week and Reconciliation Week this year, Kashia was able to share her background and culture with other staff.

“I enjoyed being able to teach others about my culture and have it celebrated,” Kashia said. “The value the department places on diversity means so much to me.”

“I was also blown away by the number of women in leadership roles in the department, which is very inspiring.

“It’s exciting to be part of the Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme and see that it can lead to a real career.

“The best part of my role is that I can see the bigger picture and I know my work is important and has an impact.”

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