Serena Gunter has become the first Ceduna graduate from the university-run Aboriginal Pathway Program.
The University of South Australia offers a pathway tailored to Indigenous students who require extra support or who did not receive the required ATAR to directly move into university.
The course is a free full-time 18-month program that aims to prepare students for university study and is open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
It takes place in five locations across the state, coming to Ceduna in 2016 to join Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Mount Gambier and Adelaide.
After a recent graduation ceremony in Port Lincoln, Ms Gunter celebrated becoming the course’s 11th graduate at a ceremony on Thursday.
She said she now wanted to focus her studies in business or business related to the tourism industry.
“It was great that the program has come here for locals to have a go at it,” she said.
“When I first started I was working part-time so I completed this over three years, and it was a challenge to balance, but I benefitted from the broad range of topics which helped tremendously well.”
Program director Tanya Weiler said there are 105 students involved in the course across the state, and that the program involved mentoring support for students.
“The program provides participants the required knowledge and skills to then study an undergraduate degree in the future,” she said.
“The feedback to the program has been very positive.
“Having it in different locations means that if a student moves to another town they can continue their studies as it is all done simultaneously.”
She said applications were now open for the program for 2019.
Ms Gunter said she would like to continue her studies in Ceduna.
“I can do external study and would like to stay here,” she said.
“I also want to continue my work with Arts Ceduna, who have all been supportive of me.”