INDIGENOUS women from across North Queensland celebrated their success at the Indigenous Women’s Leadership & Development Program (Deadly Women) graduation ceremony on Friday.
The government-funded program travels to different communities and provides First Nations women with nationally recognised entry-level qualifications that will open more doors to future opportunities.
“It’s about building agency with the women and allowing them to actually develop their aspirations,” said program manager Sheriden Morris.
Among the graduates was Napranum woman Julie Mairu of the Taepithiggi clan.
She said that the program inspired her to consider starting a business in the tourism industry.
Before the program, Ms Mairu said she had never thought about tourism, but after hearing from mentors, she noticed the number of tourists that visited her hometown and walked away with a newfound goal.
Ms Morris said that though there were many similar programs to Deadly Women, they often didn’t have an entry-level focus.
“The program is strongly focused on giving First Nations women who haven’t had many opportunities to actually take the first steps,” she said.
After the 10-day intensive program, women walk away with a Certificate I in Business and a Certificate I in Tourism, which cover many of the basic skills needed to enter the workforce and even start their own business.
“It means they’re digitally competent, they are good in any business they go into now, they’ll know how to perform in an office and are work-ready,” Ms Morris said.
Some have already gone on to start their own businesses, including Hammond Island graduate Georgina Dorante.
She initially participated in the program to advance her skills in supporting her husband’s business, but decided to start her own small food truck, ‘Kirr-rock’, after getting her qualifications in March.
“This program has really given me the understanding of business and a lot of confidence, especially in the technology side of things,” she said.
Following the success of the program, the Deadly Women team is hoping the federal government will continue its funding and enable more First Nations women to take the opportunity.
“When we go back home, we’ll encourage all the young ones and let them know what we did and how we feel. It was very good,” Ms Mairu said.