My Future Matters is an outreach program developed and facilitated by Woolyungah Indigenous Centre (WIC) that engages Indigenous High school students to think about and explore their futures. The program operates within NSW and reaches students between age of 12-18. Through the use of fun activities and Yarning Circles, WIC aims to build these student’s interest and awareness on setting goals which may or may not include further education such as attending University.
While there is an emphasis on the fact that university may not be the path for every Indigenous student, WIC Student Ambassadors and Indigenous Future Student & Engagement Officer, Zach Stewart speaks about the alternate pathways UOW offers if they wish to attend university. The outreach program runs throughout the year and engages with many students at different points of their academic journey.
As at September, the Future Student Outreach team has engaged with 465 Indigenous students across 18 high schools throughout the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Far South Coast including Bega. My Future Matters offers two delivery types: In-school delivery and On-campus delivery. In the schools, the WIC team with Student Ambassadors run faculty taster sessions, goal setting, career planning yarns, and increase student awareness of future career options such as the Indigenous Admissions Program (IAP).
The feedback from students and their families has been extremely supportive. One parent shared their feedback via email to the team, stating “My daughter came home excited after the visit to her school. That excitement just keeps building as [their] visit to WIC gets closer. At 14 she's already talking about all the different opportunities and options that she has. The relationships help, she knows she'll have people supporting her and cheering her on along the way. It's a real confidence boost for her.”
Our student Ambassadors find the program and their engagement rewarding as Zahli, one of the WIC Ambassadors shared; “My Future Matters is such an important program in engaging potential prospective Indigenous university students. We are doing our part to get as many Indigenous students into post-school education options and making sure they are supported during their journey”.
This November, Woolyungah is planning to host Year 7 to 10 students to engage in an exciting on-campus experience. WIC will support our future students to connect with state of the arc music and performance studios, laboratories and taster sessions run by academics. The faculty run taster sessions across the Wollongong campus will be complimented with cultural activities facilitated by local community members.