First Nations training and career pathways grant announced at 2024 AFTRS Graduation

A $530,000 grant over two years to support First Nations training and career pathways has been announced by the Minister for the Arts, The Hon Tony Burke, who attended the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) Graduation Ceremony last Friday, where 158 students graduated from the 2023 academic year.

The funding will allow AFTRS to support two programs of work. The First Nations Bridging Program will offer participants a bespoke combination of training, placement, mentoring opportunities and community support based on the needs, interests and ambition of First Nations students. It will create pathways for cohorts of emerging First Nations talent from remote and regional areas into the screen, radio and audio industries.

The second program will support a Training Audit of current First Nations employment and training within the screen sector to provide AFTRS, screen agencies and the industry with a clear map of the current needs and gaps, as well as the areas that are well supported.

The announcement follows a significant investment in the Arts8 national training organisations, included in the Federal Budget.

AFTRS will receive $23.2 million over four years, with funding indexed and ongoing, to ensure it is able to continue fostering the next generation of talent across screen and audio.

AFTRS CEO Dr. Nell Greenwood says “This restoration of government funding to previous levels is a relief, and such a great outcome for the school and its future students.”

“The role of AFTRS is to train and to inspire,” Minister Burke said to AFTRS’ graduating students, “You, with the training you now have, are some of the best equipped people in this nation, to make sure Australia knows itself.”

Speaking to students, AFTRS Council Chair Rachel Perkins underscored the importance of their work to Australia.

“(AFTRS) is here to benefit you, but it is also here to benefit the country. Taxpayers invest in this institution because they believe that the stories we tell are significant to our country and will move our country forward and inform our country at times of crisis; inform our national identity and make us evolve as a people. You are the creative lifeblood that fuels the industry, and that will change the industry.”

The night before Graduation, six graduating First Nations students were honoured at a ceremony attended by Elders, First Nations community and industry colleagues including Indigenous alum.

Main photo: (L-R) AFTRS Council Chair Rachel Perkins, Minister for the Arts, The Hon Tony Burke, Master of Arts Screen: Business Graduate EJ Garrett

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