Kungka Career Conference

Kungka Career Conference

“The best thing about the Conference is … the fact that it exists!” (Pipalyatjara participant, 2007)

The Kungka Career Conference (KCC) is for teenage girls from across the NPY region  – who attend along with the support and supervision of their teachers, youth workers and/or senior community women.

About KCC

The Conference is one of NPY’s commitments to youth Leadership Development. It aims to provide information on education, training and career opportunities to the participants, expose them to female Aboriginal role models and to provide workshops on a range of job skills, life skills and on the issues and obstacles relevant to young Indigenous women today.

The Conference is three days of workshops, speakers and activities which all inspire, motivate and encourage participants to feel confident, try new things, connect with their peers and strive for their goals.

History of KCC

The first Kungka Career Conference was held in 1997, arising out of our desire to address issues of teenage pregnancy by exposing girls and young women to education and employment options, and inspiring them through talks and workshops from prominent female Aboriginal role models. This first Conference was received with an overwhelming response – attended by 250 girls and young women!

Since the success of that first event, the Conference has been held ever since, funding and human resources permitting , and grown to become a flagship event for NPYWC. It is estimated that more than one thousand young Indigenous women from across the NPY region have attended the Conference since its inception.

Why is KCC needed

  • There are still many factors preventing young Anangu from achieving higher goals: education levels generally fall below the mainstream average, high morbidity and mortality rates, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and the lack of employment opportunities.
  • Evidence suggests that if a person has poor educational outcomes they are more likely to experience greater levels of ill-health. The longer a young person stays at school, the greater are their chances of employment and improved outcomes in life. The flow-on or cumulative benefits of this are also increasingly recognised with subsequent generations having greatly improved family income, health and well being, and a strengthening of the wider community as a whole.
  • Parents in the NPY region are concerned for the future of their children and their communities. NPY Women’s Council members have urged that, rather than accept the status quo, the organisation should work to empower young women to understand the benefits of finishing school and to use it as a platform to forge a different future.
  • The Kungka Career Conference is also recognised as an important feature on the calendar of youth, health, education and indigenous community service organisations working across central Australia. It is one of the few events in which all stakeholders who work for the benefit of young people on the NPY lands can come together to share valuable information.

The aims of the KCC

  • To bring together teenage girls and young women (aged 12 – 20 years) from NPY Women’s Council member communities and provide relevant information on education, employment, training, leadership and life-skills so that they are better equipped to make informed decisions about their future.
  • To present Indigenous female role models who are successful in a variety of fields, to share inspiring stories and advice.
  • To run workshops that broaden participants’ horizons and provides a hand-on, brief, exposure to various careers and skills.
  • To look at the barriers which prevent young Anangu women from achieving their goals and impart skills on how to overcome them.

What do people say about the KCC

“They come to this Conference to talk about the general problems out in the communities but it’s making them stronger to think about what they want to do and to get ideas so later on when the old people are passed away they can carry on” (The late Mrs. Burton, former NPY Minyma Director, 2008)

“There was lots of good information about domestic violence, health, keeping safe and strong. I learnt to stand up strong and healthy” (Titjikala participant, 2008))

“We come to hear ‘our peoples’ stories, to learn from other people and communities, to meet inspiring models, and to build support and strength from each other” (Support worker, 2007)

“It’s a unique gathering for young people to be sharing and listening and helping one another and encouraging one another towards their future,” (Djapiri Munungiritji (Yirkala), guest speaker, 2008)

“We liked the stories which the other kungkas told about themselves and how they struggled to be successful” (Mimili participant, 2007)

“The best thing about the Conference was to see the smiles on each kungka’s face…I believe that every kungka has the potential … and with hard work and determination they could succeed” (Carmella Grey, Aboriginal Community Police Officer, Mutitjulu, guest speaker 2007)