Recently I had the privilege of embarking on a memorable journey, along with Jobs Australia’s COO, Nicole Steers, to Bathurst Island and Melville Island, collectively known as the Tiwi Islands. A big thank you to our gracious host, Maria Harvey, CEO of the Tiwi Islands Training & Employment Board (TITEB).

TITEB aims to be the ‘go to’ employment service for local employers. They are committed to understanding the requirements of individual business owners and ensuring that job seekers are trained according to the needs of the labour market. They also work closely with job seekers to prepare them for work, with activities and training to build confidence and job-specific skills.

During our time on the Tiwi Islands, we were captivated by the remarkable initiatives we encountered.

On Bathurst Island, we visited Ngarawanajirri Inc, the Keeping House. Ngarawanajirri means “to help one another” in Tiwi. The aim of this organisation is to provide a safe, clean community area for local artists to practice and to help and encourage them with their work. This provides the artists with a job and status within the community. The work the artists undertake includes painting, fabric art, and carving in the historic “Keeping Place” – a magnificent Ngarawanajirri building commonly called the Tiwi Sistine Chapel.

We then had the pleasure of visiting the TITEB office on Bathurst Island, visiting the main office and meeting the staff was an absolute pleasure. We observed a number of their CDP programs, including, the Headstone Project, Totem Poles Project, Lawn Mower Crew, the Women’s Centre, Bima Wear, the Yellow Shirts Crew as well as the Local Shop.

Continuing our journey, we arrived at Melville Island, where we visited TITEB’s second office and were able to meet the various teams. Each encounter left a lasting impression as we witnessed the impact of their programs firsthand. From the Men’s Centre to the Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association, the Muluwurri Museum, Screen Printing, and the Munupi Arts & Craft Association, the diversity of initiatives and the dedication of those involved were truly commendable.

I would like to extend sincere gratitude to Maria Harvey and everyone we met during our time on the Tiwi Islands. It was an exceptional trip filled with valuable takeaways and learnings that will undoubtedly shape our future endeavors.

Debra Cerasa

Jobs Australia CEO