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Its all about relationships

As we wrap up another big year and reflect on our work here at the Tamworth Opportunity Hub we recognise more and more that no matter what we set out to achieve, success is built on our relationships. Whether we are talking about students and their families, or the partnerships we have with other Tamworth organisations, our ability to set a good foundation based on truly understanding each other, creating shared goals and working effectively together is a key to achieving what we do.

This month we have been lucky enough to be a part of many local successes, from graduations to the excitement of uni placements and job offers.  And after working so hard with our students throughout the year, we wouldn't want to miss out on the really good stuff.  And so to all of the students we have been involved with throughout the year, all of the schools and our other partners from across the community we say "thank you"!  Thanks for having us at your presentations days and formals and letting us join with you to to celebrate your great achievements, and recognise it as an important part of the journey we are taking together.

Wishing you a magical Christmas and joyous New Year from the team at the Tamworth Opportunity Hub and Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council.

In this edition:

  • Year 12 formals
  • Student successes
  • 2017 School leaders
  • Volunteering Opportunities
  • Mentoring the future
  • Army YOU Session
  • Jacob re-joins the Opp Hub Team
  • Staff Development Day
  • Thank you to our partners

Year 12 formals

The Tamworth Opportunity Hub team was honoured to attend the school formals of many of the Tamworth students we have been supporting throughout the year.  School formals are a great opportunity to mark an important milestone alongside students we have worked with, celebrate their successes and to reinforce the message that we will be there, walking beside students, through the transition times and onto the next stage of their lives. 

From top and clockwise: Thomas, Lyniece and Will Keogh (McCarthy Catholic College); Jermain Doyle, Denzel Hampton, Kenny Trindall and Isaah Milgate (Peel High School); Tshinta Knox and Jermain Doyle (Peel High School); Tiegan Kent (Tamworth High) and Zoe Sands and Loretta Weatherall (Tamworth High).
Student successes
Hannah Cochrane left school in Year 11, but is now studying at the University of Newcastle (UoN) doing the Yapug Program and working towards enrolling at the UoN in 2017 to do Medicine. Yapug is a pathway program designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gain skills for entry into undergraduate degrees at the UoN.  Hannah's story is a great example that there are many entry points into Uni for school leavers.

Matthew Sing sought assistance from the Opp Hub to complete his applications to a number of university courses, and has now been accepted into Southern Cross University to study Physiotherapy commencing 2017. The Opportunity Hub staff are currently searching for additional scholarships for Matthew and will continue to assist Matt in any way we can.

Zoe Sands completed Year 12 at Tamworth High this year and has been accepted into both Griffith University and University of NSW (UNSW) to study her chosen course, Criminology. Zoe is very excited and has chosen to study at UNSW.

Lahkeisha Cook has secured a School-based Traineeship with the National Australia Bank for 2017. She was assisted by Tamworth AES and Careers Network. This is an example of the successful relationships the Opportunity Hub has with its Consortium Partners and the benefit of these partnerships to our students.

A range of other Year 12 school leavers have been assisted into local employment opportunities: Jermain Doyle has recently secured a position at KFC, Isaiah Spearim is working at Teys Australia, and Luke Miles from McCarthy will be commencing a Diesel Mechanic Apprenticeship with “Glen Artley” in January 2017.

2017 School leaders

Five Aboriginal students have been elected to Tamworth High's leadership team for the coming year including Jaydifah Boney (Prefect), Tiarn Bayliss (Prefect), Georgia Taggart (School Captain) and Paris Knox (Vice-Captain) and Jamie Blackler (Prefect). 

Janaya Lamb (second from right) has also been elected female Vice Captain at Peel High School for 2017
Midnight Basketball


As a number of our long-term players turn 18 years of age, they are no longer permitted to play in the tournaments; however, the Opportunity Hub staff have been active in encouraging them to volunteer as coaches, scorers, bus monitors and workshop managers.

Volunteering is a great way for any student to to gain experience in different roles and industries, build up an evidence base for the skills on their resume, kick start their pathway to a career.. 
We would like to recognise our volunteers this term - Kenny Trindall has been to two tournaments including those held on the 22 October and 29 October and Tshinta Knox volunteered for the tournament held on the 22 October.  Given that both these students sat their final exams and graduated this term we are proud of them for making the time commitment to volunteer with Midnight Basketball.

Mentoring the future

Roger Knox and Buddy Knox have each spent time over December mentoring dozens of hopeful young musicians who will now go on to perform at the Tamworth Country Music Festival as part of the Aboriginal Cultural Showcase.

The Aboriginal Cultural Showcase is coordinated by the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council and is a developmental opportunity for budding Aboriginal musicians. 

“This is the work we really look forward to, that keeps us going year in and year out,” Roger Knox said.

“The talent amongst our younger generations just always blows me away.  This is part of how we keep our culture going, we are sharing not only music knowledge but stories, language and traditions through our Aboriginal music, passing it on through the generations.”

The Tamworth Opportunity Hub would like to thank Festivals Australia which provided funding to support the mentoring program.

Pictured below: Tamworth High students working with Roger, Buddy and Googoorewan Knox 

Army YOU Session    

The Tamworth Opportunity Hub's partnership with the Army has made it possible to hold a special YOU Session for Tamworth on the 12-13 November. YOU sessions allow students to understand their options without any obligation to join the Army.  The YOU Session is normally held in Newcastle, so having it in Tamworth makes it more accessible for our local students.
Fourteen students turned up for the breakfast and YOU session at the 12/16 Hunter River Lancers’ Barracks in Tamworth. Oxley High School’s Clontarf Boys Academy students attended as a group while Trinity Allport and Ryan Way attended with a special interest, following up from their attendance at Army First Look earlier in the year.
All students passed their aptitude test on the day and showed interest in the process and their results - Student outcomes from the day.  Likely follow-on, likely recruits?

Students exploring the 12/16 Hunter River Lancers Barracks in Tamworth

Jacob Stanton
re-joins the Tamworth Opportunity Hub team
Jacob Stanton has re-joined the Opportunity Hub on a casual basis. Jacob commenced his job with the Army on 12 September however, due to family issues he was discharged soon after his enlistment on an Administrative Discharge.  On Jacob’s return to Tamworth he reported feeling embarrassed and as if he had failed.  We have certainly been following Jacob’s story and development over a long period of time, and were equally disappointed for him that his role in the Army did not work out, however, we have been very pleased and proud to work with Jacob since his return and see him rebound from the experience with his trademark resilience. 
Since re-joining the Opportunity Hub team, Jacob has been active in getting out to schools and sharing his story with them.  He has been frank in recounting his experience to student groups and has shown strength in speaking about what it has meant to him to realise that a false start can be a learning point and something that can be overcome.  Congratulations Jacob! We look forward to working with you as a colleague as you prepare to move on to your next adventure.
Networking @ Nundle

A day out of the office created the perfect environment to explore ideas for future collaboration when the Opportunity Hub and some of its partners headed to Nundle on 13 December.  The Tamworth Opportunity Hub and Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council staff joined with Ryan Taylor, Regional Project Officer from Aboriginal Affairs NSW and Simon Taylor, Senior Leader Community Engagement from Hillvue Public School to conduct the joint planning.  The day included an exploration of some of the significant sites, history and cultural resources within Nundle and Hanging Rock, with Simon playing tour guide and drawing on his previous experience with the (former) Catchment Management Authority.

The staff all enjoyed the opportunity to network in a relaxed environment, strengthen their connection to local places and develop cultural knowledge that they will be able to apply within their work.

Thank you to our partners

As the year draws to a close we would like to send out a huge thank you to everyone who works with the Opportunity Hub and makes the work that we do possible.  To all of our education and community partners, the students we work with and the members of our Consortium.  Thank you team! It has been an absolute pleasure and we look forward to many new adventures with you by our side in 2017.

The Tamworth Opportunity Hub coordinates and matches training and career opportunities with Aboriginal students, providing incentives to finish school and transition into sustainable jobs. 

Tamworth Opportunity Hub can be contacted at:
Address: 123 Marius Street, TAMWORTH NSW 2340
Phone: (02) 6766 9028; Fax: (02) 6766 9036
Facebook: Opportunity Hub Tamworth or via the link below

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