Year 11 student Annalise Varker has been participating in School Based Apprenticeship Training (SBAT) with the North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA)….and loving it!

The NCCMA, who is committed to better management of waterways and wetlands, preservation of biodiversity, land care, regional responses to climate change, soil health and protection of threatened species—among many other responsibilities across the north-central region—also has a Reconciliation plan that they describe as a definite ‘plan’ not just an aspirational idea.

The program that Annalise is involved with is focused on creating pathways for Aboriginal students to work directly in roles that allow them to influence the management of Country.

“I’m finding it really good,” said Annalise. “Really educational and a great opportunity to connect back to culture and Country and help look after both.”

In the process she is also learning how a workplace operates.

Thursday morning saw the gathering of NCCMA staff, teachers from participating colleges and SBAT participants to hear Kathryn Coff speak. Kathy has long been involved in education of Indigenous students including through her lecturing role at La Trobe University Bendigo and the Nalderun Project—The Meeting Place—which encourages Aboriginal students to appreciate the unique and holistic perspective that traditional teachings bring to the wider society.

Asked about her own personal aspirations, Annalise had this to say: “I want a job that I enjoy that gets me outside where I can work to help the environment. And I want to be happy.”

Judging by the expression on her face, she’s pretty much there!