24  March 2022

Children’s Health Queensland has this week formally welcomed one of the state’s largest intakes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and nursing students, boosting the cultural safety and capability of the future workforce caring for the state’s sickest kids.

Ten undergraduate students, recruited from across Queensland through the new Footprints Workforce Project, will work in social work, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech pathology and nursing roles at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and in community-based child and youth mental health services while completing the third or fourth year of their studies.

Children’s Health Queensland Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Angela Young said the cadets would play an important role in improving health equity and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families across the state.

“Providing culturally appropriate health services makes a real difference in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their families, and communities,” Ms Young said.

“We need more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in all parts of the health system to embed cultural leadership in structures, policies, processes and models of care.”

The cadets are employed by Children’s Health Queensland as temporary part-time employees, and gain experience over 60 days of work placement over the calendar year, which is equivalent to 12 weeks full-time work.

Ms Young said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were significantly underrepresented in tertiary nursing and allied health courses such as physiotherapy, psychology and occupational therapy.

“The cadetship program allows us to build a pipeline of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and allied health professionals which supports our long-term health equity goal of providing a more culturally safe place for children and young people to receive care.”

Children’s Health Queensland’s Footprints Workforce Project has been funded by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Division as part of the Queensland Government’s Making Tracks Investment Strategy.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and nursing students can register interest in the program by contacting CHQ_WDO@health.qld.gov.au