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NAIDOC Award recognises passionate advocate

Newly appointed Aboriginal Development Officer Laurence Riley has received recognition for his tireless efforts to unite communities in the form of a NAIDOC Perth Award.

Laurence was recently announced as the runner-up for the NAIDOC Education Achievement Award.

“It’s been a journey but it was a bit of a shock to be honest,” Laurence said on receiving the award.

“I only found out I was nominated recently, I definitely didn’t think I would be named as a runner up.”

“I was nominated by a former colleague Dorinda Cox who wanted to recognise me for the work I was doing on the board of Derbal Yerrigan Health Service, as well as the work I’ve been doing since working at South Regional TAFE.”

Laurence is based at Narrogin Campus and has been described as gutsy, respectful and considerate, with a can-do attitude and the ability to take negative experiences and turn them into positives.

Regional Campus Manager Sonia Hogermeer congratulated Laurence on the award.

“Laurence has bought a new dynamic and much needed energy and commitment to Aboriginal Programs here at Narrogin Campus and we look forward to many successful outcomes,” Sonia said.

Laurence is proud of the progress being made at South Regional TAFE Narrogin in increasing engagement from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.

“We’ve had great success with students transitioning from the program for disengaged youth to General Adult Education courses,” Laurence said.

He wants to continue to build the capacity of the community and engage with its champions to encourage others to consider studying.

Laurence’s own personal story has inspired other young people.

“I used to be a rebel in school: I dropped out in Year 11.

“At the time I didn’t think I would end up doing what I am doing now,” he said.

Laurence has almost completed his Diploma of Nursing (with less than 5 weeks of clinical placement to go) but has a long list of other qualifications including a Diploma of Management, a Diploma of Business and a Diploma of Government. He is also a qualified Education Assistant.

He is a volunteer Ambulance Officer for St John’s Ambulance and has been appointed to several boards including the National Aboriginal Controlled Health Organisation.

When asked what he would say to young people living in regional Australia thinking about furthering themselves his response was:

“I have proven to my biggest critic – myself – that it’s not too hard to succeed. Concentrate on yourself and who you want to be first,” Laurence said.

“If you’ve ever been told the ‘world is your oyster’ and thought yeah, right – well the ‘world really is your oyster’.”

Page last updated July 08, 2019