Djarragun VET Hospitality Students

Many Tribes, One Blood

Just south of Cairns, outside the Djarragun College Hospitality Kitchen, the catchy bassline of 90s R&B floats through the air as a student rushes past with a perfectly plated bunya and sandalwood crusted lamb rack. Stepping into the kitchen, Miss Alison is surrounded by a flurry of around 30 hospitality students dressed in white chef uniforms, working at full capacity to present a three-course menu of restaurant quality food for their ‘Many Tribes, One Blood’ 2022 NAIDOC Arts & Food celebrations.

Samuel, Nancella and Denisha are just three of the many Certificate III Hospitality students at Djarragun College, who each played their part in bringing the event to life. Each of these students is enrolled in the VET Hospitality

Sam, a passionate cook, and the resident hospitality kitchen DJ, plans on using his Certificate III to transition into the industry when he finishes school at the end of this year.

“I love cooking, it’s in my background. My family always cook back home. Since I was in Year 9, I knew I wanted to be a chef,” says Sam.

Although Nancella is also on track to complete her Certificate III in Hospitality, she has her sights set on a career path outside of the culinary world. During Nancella’s childhood, she looked up to inspirational figures, such as her mum and grandmother, who spent the latter parts of their careers working in healthcare on Thursday Island. Now in her final year of high school, she hopes to trail in the path of her foremothers and become a Registered Nurse.

“I’m doing the nursing Diploma with TAFE through a scholarship, which I applied for last week Monday. So, I’m hoping to hear back soon. My mum and my grandma were both nurses. My niece has a chronic disease, and knowing about my niece’s condition, also made me want to be a nurse."

Nancella, Sam and Denisha
Nancella, Sam and Denisha (left to right).

“Going around to different medical centres and seeing how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are treated, to me it seems unfair. So, I want to become a nurse and change that. My goal is to go back up to the Torres Strait and work up there,” says Nancella.

For younger students, such as Denisha, utilising Djarragun’s wide range of VET Course opportunities allow her to sample a wide range of industries and gain a range of qualifications before finishing school, giving her every opportunity for further study and employment after graduation.

“I do other VET subjects outside of Hospitality. I also do Outdoor Recreation and Coaching & Fitness. I’m looking at doing something in construction, carpentry or mechanics. That’s ‘plan-A’,” says Denisha.

Djarragun College's 115 boarders and 230 day students come from more than 42 home locations across Australia, with rich and varied cultural connections. As one of the leading choices of school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, Djarragun College works with the Netat Bama Kodomir Committee as well as local and regional Elders in organising cultural events, such as the 2022 NAIDOC Celebrations.

The College encourages students to speak their languages amongst each other so they can learn from each other. With permission from their Elders, Djarragun students and with permission of the Elders remain connected to their cultural dances by sharing this at key College events, including Leaders Ceremony, NAIDOC Day and Presentation Day.

The students are talented in many different areas, with skills across dance, sports, music and art. Djarragun’s extensive VET Program offerings provide opportunities for students to engage in a range of areas, such as Automotive and Engineering, Construction, Beauty, Childcare, Healthcare, Horticulture, Hospitality, Sports and Outdoor Recreation, and the Arts.

They understand, that together, we are stronger.

Below are some of the photos from our 'Many Tribes, One Blood' celebrations. You can view even more photos here: Djarragun 2022 NAIDOC Many Tribes, One Blood


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