Graduates find pathway to university dream

Two Port Lincoln students have recently graduated from the University of South Australia's Aboriginal Pathway Program.

Wayne Betts and Mia Haseldine celebrated at the UniSA Port Lincoln Study Centre with the local community and staff from both Port Lincoln and Adelaide.

The Aboriginal Pathway Program is a free 18 months course run by the UniSA college and tailored to Aboriginal Students.

It aims to develop the academic skills necessary to complete a university degree such as literacy, digital and numerical skills.

Their GPA is then used to transfer into their desired UniSA degree.

Program Director Tanya Weiler said it was another successful graduation since the program was first offered in 2017.

"Wayne is the first male completer of the program in Port Lincoln, and another member of the Betts family to successfully complete after his grandmother local Elder Veda Betts was one of the first completers in 2017," she said.

"Wayne has commenced his studies in the UniSA Bachelor of Community Health, studying online from Port Lincoln.

"Mia Haseldine, originally from Ceduna, commenced the APP in Ceduna before transferring to Adelaide and then finishing the program in Port Lincoln.

"Mia commenced her Bachelor of Psychological Science and Sociology in September 2019."

She said both students spoke about the support they received from the staff and community as they studied.

Ms Haseldine said she had tried to move to Adelaide from Ceduna for university straight after high school but found it difficult to keep up with university and city life.

"I was failing and it was so hard moving to Adelaide from Ceduna," she said.

"Now I feel more confident and that I can actually complete the degree."

She studies online and said with a son and having tried Adelaide before there was much more support in Port Lincoln for her to study.

"I'm so glad they do it now in the regions," she said.

She said a friend had originally encouraged her to do the program, and she learnt not only maths and computer skills but also more complex learning tools like how to create annotated bibliographies, and write case studies and practical reports.

"Not only has it taught me to be ready for uni but it's improved my life and I feel like I can achieve more," she said.

To apply for the 2020 program offered in Adelaide, Ceduna, Mount Gambier, Port Lincoln or Whyalla, visit https://study.unisa.edu.au/degrees/aboriginal-pathway.