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MEDIA RELEASE: Territory NRM Indigenous traineeship program celebrates graduation and new intake

Territory Natural Resource Management has celebrated the achievements of its latest Indigenous graduate and welcomed a new trainee.

Tom Ahfat is the second person to graduate from TNRM’s Indigenous traineeship program, which was established in 2014, with funding support from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

The traineeship provides education and mentoring to young people in their own community, allowing them to retain cultural connections while learning new skills.

Tom has now been offered employment with Indigenous Land Corporation at Fish River Station, where he did his training.

He will help manage and conserve the 180,000 hectare remote property that runs along the Daly River.

TNRM Indigenous project support officer Wayne Barbour congratulated Tom on completing his traineeship, which included receiving a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management and building skills in managing fire, feral animals and weeds.

Tom’s employer, the Indigenous Land Corporation, is proud of Tom’s transformation from a shy young man to a confident worker.

“Tom worked hard at his traineeship and has become a young role model in his community at Daly River,” an ILC spokesman said.

In welcoming TNRM’s newest trainee, Steven Dawson, Wayne said TNRM remained committed to providing development opportunities to young Indigenous people interested in pursuing careers in natural resource management.

Steven, who is a Larrakia person, and lives in Darwin, is keen to complete his Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management and develop his leadership and technology skills.

“Steven already has a bit of a knack for technology and wants to take this further… and then pass this skill on to other Larrakia Rangers,” Wayne said.

Along with his work with the Larrakia Rangers, Steven will now spend one day a week at TNRM’s Darwin office learning how to use geographic information systems (GIS) and make maps.

Setting up and managing a traineeship that enables other organisations to act as employment hosts and which offers additional training and mentorship opportunities close to each trainee’s home, isn’t easy.

“Because Tom worked in a remote location that created some challenges but also many advantages,” Wayne said.

“Tom completing his traineeship demonstrates that if something is well set up it can work, but it requires patience and understanding of cultural and social environments.

“Remaining in their own setting, or community is a big attraction for our trainees.

“It allows them to feel comfortable and helps them to process things a little better. It’s an approach that has been successful to date.”

Key facts

  • TNRM’s Indigenous traineeship program was established in 2014

  • Tom Ahfat is the second graduate and is now employed by the Indigenous Land Corporation. The first graduate, Maxine Keighran, took a job with the li-anthawirriyarra Sea Rangers following her traineeship.

  • TNRM engages organisation close to the trainee’s home to act as host agencies

  • TNRM pays the trainees’ wages and provides additional training and mentorship

  • TNRM facilitates trainees to undertake formal qualifications such as Certificates in Conservation and Land Management

  • The TNRM Indigenous traineeship program is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.




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