Elly Cleggett, a current Arts student studying a double degree of International Development and Environmental Policy and Management was accepted in to the Aurora Internship Program. She relocated from Adelaide to Sydney New South Wales (NSW) to join the Aboriginal Children, Family and Communities Care State Secretariat (AbSec), a not for profit Aboriginal organisation.
AbSec provide child protection and out-of-home-care policy advice on issues affecting Aboriginal children, young people, families and careers. Elly chose this internship to learn practical skills in policy writing and broaden her knowledge on Aboriginal affairs.
“I worked on many projects while at AbSec, the biggest project being an education report and policy brief, which involved significant editing and research. The aim of the education report was to highlight the various barriers surrounding Aboriginal children in out-of-home care in schools and suggestions for overcoming these issues and supporting these children to achieve their best.”
Elly also had the opportunity to work on a submission to the NSW government who, at that time were inquiring into youth diversionary projects within NSW.
“Although AbSec don’t specialize in the youth justice space, Aboriginal children in out-of-home care are devastatingly over represented in this area. Therefore, I was asked to contribute to a submission to highlight these connections and support the submissions of other Aboriginal organisations who specialized in this such as the Aboriginal Legal services and Just Reinvest NSW. My presence and contribution supported the capacity of AbSec to participate in this process, particularly as a small organization with a large workload, which was a very rewarding feeling.”
In addition to these projects Elly participated in the process of composing a submission on behalf of their members and communities in regards to the Close the Gap refresh.
“I had the opportunity to be involved in meetings and discussions relating to the refresh which I found extremely valuable. Almost every day I had the opportunity to have discussions with the people I was working with about Aboriginal social justice issues and the projects they were working on. For me, this was equally as valuable to my experiences as the projects I worked on, as I found one of the best ways to learn is to listen and discuss.”
Overall, Elly says the whole experience exceeded her expectations. Her involvement in the Aurora Internship Program with AbSec gave her the opportunity to not only apply the skills she has and is learning at the University of Adelaide in to a work place environment, but also “the ability to meet and learn from some extraordinary people whom I know I could ask for advice and network with in the future.”
Visit Aurora Project to learn more about the program and how to apply.