In regional and remote areas of Australia, hurdles to education can be exacerbated by distance and extreme social disadvantage. Approximately 50% of Northern Territory youth do not complete high school. Low high school completion rates result in reduced biomedical training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth who live in regional and remote communities in northern Australia.
One of the main barriers to a local biomedical workforce in northern Australia is a lack of supported pathways into employment for youth. This gap is addressed by the Menzies-Ramaciotti Centre. The Centre focuses on delivering high-quality training in order to develop a local biomedical workforce for rural and remote northern Australia. Students benefit from training in the latest technology, industry partnerships, dedicated trainers, mentoring programs, internships across institutions, and access to Menzies School of Health Research teams and networks.
Our governance structure includes the Management Team, Steering Group and a Youth Advisory Group. Non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander representatives will be included as members of these groups; however, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives will be sought for the majority of positions. Youth advisors will be included as key members in the Management Team and Steering Group. This governance structure will enable the Centre to grow and connect youth from across the Northern Territory to previously unimagined pathways into the biomedical and health sciences workforce.
The Menzies-Ramaciotti Centre enables regional and remote youth to overcome barriers to the biomedical and health workforce by providing multiple entry points for training in health sciences. Youth can enter the program via:
- High school engagement pathways
- Certificate level training
- Undergraduate training
- Postgraduate training and research
The Centre leverages existing partnerships with communities, schools, training organisations and employers in order to deliver high-quality training in biomedical and health sciences. The Centre also builds on existing programs in remote community schools.
Our program is co-led by highly experienced researchers who are committed to creating opportunities for young people entering the biomedical and health sciences workforce. A dedicated project manager and student placement coordinator facilitates student placements, ensures students receive recognition for the skills they acquire, and works with the team and other Menzies personnel to ensure that students receive academic support, pastoral care and mentoring.
Students can undertake a range of educational and workplace training experiences, including laboratory techniques, data analysis, computer literacy, literature reviews, coding and bioinformatics, health promotion and allied health. Laboratory-based training includes microbiology, immunology, molecular biology, biochemistry, parasitology, genomics, metagenomics, microbiomics and transcriptomics. Students also undertake training in Good Clinical Laboratory Practice and clinical trials.
For students completing laboratory-based placements, the Centre employs a dedicated laboratory supervisor who is responsible for training students. The laboratory supervisor is committed to supporting remote and regional students in the successful completion of placements to meet defined competencies.
Banner image: Mark Mayo, Dr Robyn Marsh and Assoc Prof Heidi Smith-Vaughan.
Photo credit: Charles Darwin University