Project lead: Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA)

Project funding: $200,000   Round 4   2015Career Development Association of Australia logo

Using a proven project model, CDAA has promoted teaching as a career to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples using the strength and influence of the role model concept.

The three Role Model Leaders (RMLs) were required to have experience working in a secondary school environment and identify as, or demonstrate experience in, working with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples in a career adviser capacity.

One of the aims of the CDAA through this project was to increase awareness among its own members of the MATSITI agenda.

The RMLs were trained via a train the trainer model to deliver a total of 16 workshops in focus regions for people (who would become role models) that guide career choices and can encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to consider teaching as a career. Role models include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support staff in schools, careers advisers and community members that have student support, well-being, community liaison and study/career advocacy roles. These role models were trained to provide information on pathways to a teaching career for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The workshops were conducted in four states: NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia; in urban and rural locations. In identified focus regions where the CDAA is not represented by membership, the RMLs targeted engagement of role models who are in a position to influence career choices (with the support of MATSITI) including principals, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers and support staff, students who are studying to become a teacher, student support officers, administrators, trainers, VET instructors or those who are undertaking a range of alternative further education qualifications (university or TAFE) where they demonstrate commitment to further education as a pathway to a professional career.

The CDAA created partnerships with local, state and national education bodies, government departments and community leaders. Partners included:

  • Commonwealth Department of Education and Training
  • Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)
  • universities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education teams in each state
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment units in each state
  •  MATSITI, to leverage its strong relationship with Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE) which represents 39 schools and faculties of education.

Project assets

The following resources were developed as part of the Follow my Lead project:

  • Follow my lead: role model handbook (PDF) – an attendee handbook which was used as the training manual for the workshop attendees.
  • promotional video as requested by MATSITI. This 40 minute clip demonstrates participation in the workshop from the attendees’ perspective.
  • Several Lead the Way newsletters distributed as a way to share workshop attendees’ knowledge. They contained a range of information about supports, programs and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. See Issue 1, May 2015 and  Issue 2, July 2015.
  • Follow my Lead webinar from February 2015 which provided more detail about the project, presented by MATSITI and the product developer, Helen Drousas. Use this link to listen or download. Please note that the webinar runs for 60 minutes and the file is 27.5MB.

MATSITI Evaluation conclusions

This is a well-planned project by a reputable organisation with a high level of experience in the career development field. The project leaders have undertaken relevant activities to ascertain and increase the awareness of their organisation’s members of issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, especially as they pertain to teaching in schools.

With the Follow My Lead project, CDAA is utilising the validity of role modelling for young people and creating a far reaching network of training and influence aimed at attracting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into pathways which will lead to a teaching career.

Of the 158 role models who completed program evaluations, 24% said they were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and 83% said that they provide career advice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Workshop handbook and e-newsletters cover information on pathways to teaching, scholarship opportunities and direct links to other topics discussed throughout the workshop in order that attendees could explore them in more detail in their own time. Reports, evaluations and follow-up surveys capture information about the relationships developed, levels of knowledge, competency and if workshop information is being utilised.


The program could be strengthened by:

  • targeting careers fairs or presenting at events attended by large numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
  • widening its target audience beyond Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students, to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support staff in schools and community liaison officers, who are an important source of teacher graduates, and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members.

Project contact: Communications and Events Officer, CDAA

CDAA Follow my lead: careers in teaching project report, 2015 »

Presentation to MATSITI OurMobTeach conference 2015 »

CDAA Follow my lead: careers in teaching project announcement, 2014 »

MATSITI Evaluation Final Report »


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