National Library’s Indigenous program opens doors for university graduates

Indigenous graduate program participant Aleara Pearce learns new skills at the National Library of Australia. Photo: Nicole Lockwood.

Young people have the opportunity to choose their own adventure after completing the Indigenous Graduate Program at the National Library of Australia.

Since 2012, a dozen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates have completed the program and moved on to specialist positions within the library or moved into public service.

Program coordinator Rebecca Bateman says the 11-month program provides university graduates with a “good foundation” to pursue their careers in various areas of the public and community sectors.

“It’s a very diverse program that could take graduates anywhere,” she said.

“We still have graduates working with us at the library today, but others have gone on to work in the public service and other government organizations. “


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The Indigenous graduate program is a key component of employing Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people in the library workforce to develop the national collection for future generations and to ensure that Australia’s stories can be known and told in the future with respect and sensitivity.

As part of the program, Rebecca says graduates will get hands-on experience in different areas of the library, including the opportunity to work with the NLA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collection as part of three or four rotation internships.

“They will work within the Indigenous Engagement section, learning about the library’s public programs and how to engage with the community,” she added.

“They could work in the reading rooms, on access requests or with our website. “

Participants can explore opportunities through the library, from oral history, folklore, photography and public programs to marketing, computing, images and manuscripts and information management.

The Specialized Development Program welcomes recent university graduates from a wide range of disciplines.

Nicole Lockwood at work in the library

Former graduate Nicole Lockwood now works at the National Library. Photo: Amy Ramires.

Rebecca said applicants could have previously studied anything from Japanese studies to accounting, but must express an interest in cultural heritage and leadership, the arts and humanities, information technology or the conservation and conservation work.

“They must have an interest in making connections with indigenous peoples and their heritage, and in working with the community,” she said.


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The program provides the support of an Indigenous mentor and network of Indigenous staff, and the successful candidate will need to relocate to Canberra.

Rebecca says anyone considering applying should call her to talk about the help available for graduates relocating from outside Canberra.

“I know it’s very important for people to leave their homes and families, but it’s a really supportive and encouraging environment,” she said.

“A lot of people have participated in the program from as far away as Western Australia, far north Queensland and New South Wales, and we have a great team here to support them.”

Applications for the program close at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 7. Further information is available from the National Library of Australia website.


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