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Curtis

Cultural Advisor

Adelaide Youth Training Centre, Department of Human Services

How did you get to where you are today?

I started my career in residential care, within a non-government organisation, as a youth support worker about ten years ago. I took the time to develop my skills and knowledge of the child protection area which assisted in me obtaining an Aboriginal cultural advisor position with Disability SA in 2011.

My desire for positive change in my community pushed me to learn more and create change and have positive outcomes for our most disadvantaged.

Since starting in the role, and to this day, I am thoroughly enjoying it because I am able to have such a positive impact on young people’s lives.

What does an average day look like?

No day is ever the same due to the diversity and scope of the position. As part of my role I provide cultural advice and guidance to not only young people in custody but a range of staff and professionals across the two training centres.

I am part of the young people’s journey through Youth Justice within a custodial context. As part of this I interact with young people in a number of ways and in different environments including in their units, during education, support while at court and through cultural programs such as the Yarning Circle.

What do you love about your job?

I am passionate about creating change and making things better for my community. I have seen what my Aboriginal elders have done for our communities and how far they have led us. I am inspired by this and endeavour to do the same. Through my role, I am able to do this, I work with Aboriginal youth to build on their identity, their skills, knowledge and capacity for change.

I love that I can work with my community to create change and impart my cultural knowledge to the department and young people.

Why do you do what you do?

I see the reality of the gap between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people. There has been a lot of success in closing this gap however we still have a long way to go and there is still a lot of disadvantage within our community.

I do what I do so I can be an active participant in bringing this change closer in the hope of eventually closing this gap of disadvantage and strengthening Aboriginal leadership in all areas of government. I am passionate about my community and my culture, I do what I do so that my culture lives on and gets stronger.

What do you see are some of the benefits of working in the public sector?

Working in the public sector has allowed me to pursue many career opportunities. The size of the public sector and its flexibility has allowed me to move into different departments and areas which provided me with a greater level of diversity in my own skill set and government exposure.

I believe the public sector has given me an amazing opportunity to improve my skills in many ways including leadership and ingenuity. The public sector is also always promoting professional development and training to assist you in the area which you are working. This has allowed my career to progress and change paths.

However, the most valuable benefit has been the large audience that I have been afforded whilst representing my community on various boards and forums. This has ensured that my efforts to influence positive change can be heard far and wide, ensuring those that can actually effect the change can hear.

Why have you chosen to work in South Australia?

I am passionate about working in South Australia. This is where my family is, my home is, where I was raised and where I am raising my family. I am a Kaurna and Narangga man and being able to live on my country strengthens my belonging to my family and culture.

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