From little things big things grow

The Academy of Sport, Health, and Education partners with the La Trobe Rural Health School and Go TAFE to support First Nations students completing their Diploma and/or Bachelor of Nursing studies

The Academy of Sport, Health, and Education, known as ASHE, commenced in 2004 with six First Nations students completing a sports certificate.

ASHE now employs 11 staff, has 80 students enrolled and produces around 35 graduates annually in programs including VCAL, Victorian Pathways Certificate, Certificate IV in Community Services and Diploma of Nursing.

“Our whole-of-life support model is widely regarded as best practice,” said Sel Andrews from ASHE at ‘dhelkaya,’ La Trobe’s showcase for First Nations excellence in health.

ASHE was founded in Shepparton by Rumbalara Football and Netball Club and the University of Melbourne and has since partnered with La Trobe Rural Health School and Go TAFE to support students completing their Diploma and or Bachelor of nursing studies.

Nursing tutor with the University of Melbourne, Helen Everist plays a key role in delivering the ASHE nursing program.

“I feel very fortunate to work with such a talented and promising group of young people, many of whom have gone on to exciting health careers, including in First Nations Community health programs, mainstream health services and at the Rumbalara Elders Facility,” she said.

Among them is Julie-Anne Bamblett-McGee, who since completing her degree with La Trobe in 2022, is working as a Registered Nurse, completing a Graduate Nurse Program at NCN Health.

Reflecting on her time at La Trobe, Julie-Anne said “Uni isn’t scary after all, there’s so much support. The experience really opened my eyes to higher education, you don’t know what it looks like until you step in.”

ASHE students who complete their nursing Diploma are guaranteed a place in La Trobe’s Bachelor of Nursing program.

Helen said ASHE nurtures young people’s individuality and helps them find a pathway based on their own skills and interests.

“We’ve had students go on to pursue other areas of interest, such as horse management and railway construction. We attribute this to the students having a positive experience in vocational training, which has enabled pathways to a range of careers.”

Helen has dual roles, also working as tutor with La Trobe Rural Health School, as well as nursing program lead with ASHE, funded by the University of Melbourne.