Photo of Rhiannon smiling at the camera.

Rhiannon’s a study in success

For Department of Human Services Remote Smart Centre employee Rhiannon Coppin, being a finalist for ‘Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year’ at the Northern Territory Training Awards is recognition of the hard work underpinning her success.

Rhiannon works at the Darwin site and is a participant in the department’s Indigenous Apprenticeship Programme.

She said the award nomination made her proud of her achievements and had encouraged her to apply for further training, education and increased work responsibilities.

“It also makes me feel more of a mentor to other apprentices coming into the department as well as a role model to my family and community,” Rhiannon said.

Rhiannon, who joined the department in 2015, was born in Alice Springs and traces her ancestry to the Woolwonga, Kayetj and Arrernte people of Northern and Central Australia.

Her work involves helping students with ABSTUDY claims, having herself completed a Certificate IV in Government (Service Delivery) as part of the Indigenous Apprenticeship Programme.

“I have found that ABSTUDY is an extremely challenging payment stream,” Rhiannon said.

“However, I love a challenge and absolutely love my position within the department, as it’s something that I can relate to and share my knowledge with other students.”

The Department of Human Services is one of 14 government agencies involved in the Indigenous Apprenticeship Programme, and recruited nearly 250 new participants this year.

The 12-month programme provides participants with on-the-job training and a nationally-recognised certificate or diploma qualification upon completion.

With Indigenous employees making up 4.7 per cent of the workforce, the department is currently an Australian Public Service leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation.

Rhiannon implored other Indigenous Australians to follow her example by entering the programme.

“My only advice to other Indigenous people considering the Apprenticeship is to do it, this is the best way to be able to gain a Certificate to improve your skills and employability, and the best part is it is on-the-job training,” she said.

“You are able to maintain fulltime paid employment within the government sector with the possibility of advancement, a range of positions and continuous education and skills.”

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