Jawun partnership

The La Trobe Rural Health School in partnering with Jawun, a First Nations organisation that provides six-week staff secondments in local Aboriginal organisations

As a first for the university, the La Trobe Rural Health School is partnering with Jawun, an organisation that facilitates staff secondments to complete First Nations-led project work in regional Indigenous organisations.

For paramedicine lecturer Renee Sharples and business partnerships coordinator Ellyse McNish, the Jawun experience was not just about what you put in, but also what you bring back.

“It’s given me confidence in my teaching about First Nations health and encouraged me to explore the history and culture of the traditional owners where I live,” Renee said.

“My highlight was seeing incredible Indigenous organisations achieving so much greatness with so little funding and resources.”

Renee brought expertise in learning program design to the Munarra Centre for Regional Excellence, a forthcoming sporting and education precinct in Shepparton*.

Munarra Director Alan Laurie praised Renee’s contribution. “We now have analysis to support a business case for a short course in heritage management and a greater awareness of our programs’ strengths and areas for improvement.”

For Ellyse, her experience in partnerships and marketing helped the Rumbalara Football and Netball Club attract new sponsorships and partners, including with sporting brand Puma.

Ellyse also raised money for and helped organise the club’s NAIDOC ball, upgraded their digital score board, volunteered at the Buroinjin Cup, and every Tuesday and Thursday, helped kids with their reading at homework club.

“You’re there to assist, so you have to go with the flow, keep an open mind and say yes to all opportunities,” Ellyse said.

“The ability to make an impact and see a difference almost instantly was really rewarding and refreshing.”

Club President Joshua Atkinson said: “Ellyse was a joy to have part of our community. She made herself available to contribute any chance she could.”

La Trobe Rural Health School staff are among 300+ secondees Australia-wide in 2023.

Our collaborative efforts not only provide invaluable support but also significantly enhance the capacity and capabilities of Indigenous organisations. This partnership signifies La Trobe University’s commitment to Indigenous empowerment and community development.

Find out more about Jawun and the partnership with La Trobe Rural Health School: udrh@latrobe.edu.au

*Renee also worked with the Kaiela Institute and Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative as part of her secondment.