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  • Writer's pictureChristina Sandwell

The Gulya Academy

Gladstone Region First Nations and Torres Strait Islander students are flying high with a unique education program focused on creating connections.

“Connection and engagement are key drivers to Indigenous student success,” Yalga-binbi’s Gulya Academy Project Coordinator Sharalee Elijah said.


“This is why Gulya Academy is focused on keeping our program participants connected to their educations and their schools, connected to their culture, and connected to our Gladstone Region community.”


Currently embedded in Gladstone and Toolooa state high schools, the academy provides tailored and hands-on support to participants through mentoring and tutoring afternoons, Breakfast Club and bus runs, and industry and business partnerships.


Founded in 2021, the program receives on-going financial and in-kind support from several government and non-government organisations and major industries, including most recently Santos GLNG.


“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the support of our community partners,” Sharalee said.


“We’re extremely grateful to them for believing in our program and our mission to build the capabilities and capacity of our Indigenous students, empowering them to fly high, not only through high school but beyond.”


Santos GLNG CEO Stephen Harty said Gulya Academy was a unique education program “focused on supporting Gladstone Region First Nations students along their high school journeys from Year 7 to graduation”, and that it was a natural addition to the LNG organisation’s existing Community Investment Program.


“Gulya Academy has the potential to transform the lives of local First Nations and Torres Strait Island students, and cultivate the next generation of Gladstone Region Indigenous Leaders,” he said.


“Santos GLNG has a strong focus on early-intervention capability-building partnership programs for Gladstone Region young people which, in addition to Gulya Academy, includes PCYC Queensland’s Deep Blue Line Program and the Coordinated Community Response to Domestic & Family Violence’s Love Bites Program.


“We’re proud to be able to not only financially support the academy in 2024, but also provide in-kind support, including our GLNG team members participating in Mentoring Afternoons with Gulya students, and hosting the students at our GLNG Facility on Curtis Island for a special site tour.”


During an April school holiday visit to the GLNG Facility, Gulya Academy students toured the LNG plant’s operations and maintenance buildings and connected one-on-one with Indigenous Santos GLNG employees to learn more about their personal and professional journeys.


 “We can’t thank Santos GLNG enough for giving our students such a unique opportunity,” Sharalee said.


“They thoroughly enjoyed the chance to tour the GLNG Facility’s maintenance workshop, their laboratory, medical centre and of course getting to see the LNG Plant up-close.


“These opportunities enable the students to broaden their horizons and help reinforce the students’ connection with their education, and the importance of staying connected to take advantage of local opportunities and potentially enter into industry careers.”


Gulya Academy is a Yalga-binbi Institute for Community Development Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Corporation, program.


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