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Aboriginal people typically have poor completion rates for vocational education (~30 per cent). Employment of Aboriginal people in healthcare services improves the cultural competence of those services. Our study designed, implemented and evaluated a seven-step model of delivery of vocational education for Aboriginal students.

More than 500 vocational education qualifications have been awarded to Aboriginal scholars using the seven-step approach with a 93 per cent completion rate. Qualifications have been awarded in a range of paraprofessions, including: dental assisting, Aboriginal health worker, cancer care, counselling, health service assistance, audiometry, legal services.

Current status

We are continuing this work with legal services (200 scholars, 2022–2026) and audiometry (2022–2026). Aboriginal workforce development is foundational in all of the Djurali research.

This project has received funding and in-kind assistance from the NSW Government, Colgate and the Sydney Health Partners (MRFF).


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  2. Applying collective impact in Aboriginal health services and research: three case studies tell an important story Gwynne, K., Rambaldini, B., Christie, V., Meharg, D., Gwynn, J. D., Dimitropoulos, Y., Parter, C. & Skinner, J. C., 15 Jun 2022, In: Public Health Research and Practice. 32, 2, p. 1-8 8 p., e3222215.
  3. Customised approaches to vocational education can dramatically improve completion rates of Australian Aboriginal students. Gwynne, K., Rojas, J., Hines, M., Bulkeley, K., Irving, M., McCowen, D. & Lincoln, M., Feb 2020, In: Australian Health Review: a publication of the Australian Hospital Association. 44, 1, p. 7-14 8 p.
  4. Quinine Aboriginal Allied Health Assistant Project: summation report Rambaldini, B., Christie, V. & Gwynne, K., 2018, Sydney: Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, The University of Sydney. 124 p.
  5. Developing the rural health workforce to improve Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes: a systematic review Gwynne, K. & Lincoln, M., May 2017, In: Australian Health Review: a publication of the Australian Hospital Association. 41, 2, p. 234-238 5 p.
  6. Applying collective impact to wicked problems in Aboriginal health Gwynne, K. & Cairnduff, A., 2017, In: Metropolitan Universities Journal. 28, 4, p. 115-130 16 p.