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Aboriginal trainees graduate


The efforts of five Aboriginal trainee field officers with the Parks and Wildlife Service were celebrated in a community afternoon tea at Risdon Cove to mark the completion of their training course.
Minister for Tourism, Arts and the Environment, Paula Wriedt, said the Aboriginal trainee program had made a significant contribution to enhancing workplace diversity and facilitating an increased awareness of Aboriginal culture and heritage within the Parks and Wildlife Service.
The Aboriginal Trainee Field Officer Program began in August 2004, with five Aboriginal people taking on the role of field officer, undertaking a Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management through TAFE Tasmania, Ms Wriedt said.
"The graduating trainees - Todd Barrett, Teresa Grieve, Nathan Mansell, Nathan Maynard and John (LJ) Scotney - have assisted the Parks and Wildlife Service to improve and expand visitor facilities and services in national parks and reserves at locations as diverse as Smithton, Flinders Island, Prospect, Narawntapu, Arthur River, Queenstown, Ulverstone and Bruny Island," she said.
"More significantly, they have made a lasting contribution to managing Aboriginal heritage through their efforts in protection of Aboriginal middens and Aboriginal interpretation."
The trainees achieved a diverse range of conservation and land management competencies including responding to emergencies, first aid, interpreting local indigenous culture, preparing cultural heritage interpretive content, safe use and storage of chemicals and coordinating work site activities.
They also undertook training in responding to wildfire and wildlife emergencies and participated in fire management activities.
Ms Wriedt said while the trainees had now completed their training with the Parks and Wildlife Service, the skills they had gained would hold them in good stead for a diverse range of employment opportunities in the future.
Ms Wriedt said the program was supported by the Department of Tourism, Arts and the Environment and an active steering committee with representation from: the Office of Aboriginal Affairs in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Indigenous Employment Unit; TAFE Tasmania and the Indigenous Land Management Facilitator, in the Department of Primary Industries and Water.
The program was supported with a financial contribution from the Office of Post Compulsory Education and Training (OPCET) and Australian Government departments of Employment and Workplace Relations and Education, Science and Technology.
Other significant program and participant support was received from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and the Aboriginal Heritage Office.