Indigenous Apprenticeships Program - Michael

I’m Michael and I work in the remote community of Maningrida.

Before my apprenticeship, the concept of influencing change in government was so foreign to me. Now here I am, doing it every day.

I work in Maningrida, a remote community on the north coast of the Northern Territory. It’s a place where Aboriginal culture is strong and cultural ceremonies are an everyday occurrence. There’s lots of outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing, and everyone knows everyone.

I work in service delivery and experience firsthand the difficulties my community and other vulnerable Australians face. Through my apprenticeship, I’ve not only been able to get to know and help the community up here. I’ve also been able to inspire real change in how we deliver services.

My team, who also live in the community, are really supportive of my ideas about how to improve our services. Being able to pitch ideas knowing that my leaders are taking the time to listen and consider them is incredibly empowering.

I think my diverse background helps me provide sound advice to my team. My mother is a proud and humble Indigenous woman and my father is a hard-working immigrant. My mum was from the stolen generations of Alice Springs. My dad was from the Dodecanese Islands, a small group of Greek islands off the coast of Turkey.

When I was young, we lived on one of the Dodecanese. It’s quite a multicultural place and welcomes lots of tourists. My parents raised me and my siblings to accept differences in people and their cultures. Not everyone on the island accepted us and that was difficult at times. But the difficult times taught me how important it is to be accepting and open of others.

Fast forward to now, I wake up every morning wanting to go to work. I know that my work impacts people for the better. I know I’m creating a more accepting public service. I know I’m contributing to a community and a better future for Maningrida, our people and our future.

And that’s just the start of what the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program has to offer. I’ve also built a second family being my team, learned leadership skills and gained stability for my family.

My advice for future apprentices is to bring with you a passion for improvement and change. Commit to voicing your suggestions, concerns and ideas for the betterment of everyone who interacts with government.

Page last updated: 10 December 2021