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Getting back on track – Branston Japangardi Poulson

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A young Indigenous man dressed in work wear stands in front of a red truck with the letters WYDAC on the cab door. In the background is a white vehicle, trees and buildings.
Thumbs Up!
11 Aug 2017

Turning your life around takes courage, energy and self-belief. Branston Japangardi Poulson from Yuendumu in the Northern Territory has those qualities.

Up to the age of 14, Branston found himself face-to-face with the juvenile justice system on more than one occasion.

He was referred to the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC) - Youth Diversionary Program for Young Offenders and completed a brief stint at their Mt Theo rehab centre.

With guidance and support from the program, he re-engaged with school and graduated from the WYDAC’s Youth Leadership Development program - Jaru Pirrjirdi (which means strong voices).

“I would not be where I am today without the help I have had from WYDAC,” Branston said.

“The Mt Theo Program got me back on track.”

Branston began as a trade assistant at the Mt Theo Mechanical Training Workshop. He learned how to repair and service the many vehicles that come through the Workshop each week. WYDAC’s training workshop is the only mechanical service centre in the region. It is a busy workshop, servicing over 400 vehicles each year, making it an ideal training centre. Branston’s duties included everything from wheel alignments and windshield replacements to full logbook services.

Matt Davidson is the WYDAC Chief Executive Officer.

“We're excited about the Mt Theo Training Workshop and the opportunities it provides here in remote Yuendumu,” Matt said.

“And to see a young man like Branston getting so much benefit from the program is tremendous".

After two years in the workshop, 16-year-old Branston was offered a mechanical apprenticeship position. This meant learning the theory behind the process and attending classes in Alice Springs. And he continued to assist in the workshop under the guiding hands of WYDAC’s mechanics and trainers.

Stuart Marfleet is an experienced mechanic. He has supervised the now 20-year-old Branston since the beginning.

“No doubt about it, Branston is a real asset and he's the perfect example of what we're trying to do here at WYDAC and why the training program is so successful,” Stuart said.

WYDAC and the Mt Theo Training Workshop will continue to support Branston throughout his apprenticeship. It will help him meet his goal of full time employment on community.

Branston’s journey is a great example of where personal commitment and government support lead to a satisfying career.

Or as Branston said: “I am now doing my dream job.”

Find out more

Getting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into work and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to own their own home, run their own business, and provide for themselves and their families is a priority for the Australian Government.

The Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy funds WYDAC and the suite of programs they provide to the Walpiri peoples in the Yuendumu region.