Spectacular: Chef “The Black Olive” Mark Olive with TAFE Western Commercial Cookery staff and students. Photo: CONTRIBUTEDTAFE Western’s2016 Bangamalanha Conference has brought 150 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experts together to look at solutions for Indigenous post-school education.

The conference was held on Tuesday and Wednesday and had thegoal of stopping people from falling through the cracks by missing out on potential opportunities once they leave school,TAFE’s Western’sDirector of Aboriginal Education and Equity Provision Rod Towney said.

It was hoped those at Bangamalanha would be able to pool their knowledge tostop people missing out on post-school opportunities.

“We are trying to connect with those students who have fallen through the cracks, when they don’t go to TAFE or university after they finish their schooling,” Mr Towney said.

He said TAFE Western had an important role to play because of its reputation for excellence with Indigenous education.

“TAFE Western has enrolled over 7000 Aboriginal students and is very big on languages as well as the IPROWD course,” he said.

“Apart from TAFE we also havea number of universities involved. The University of NSW, University of Southern Queensland, CSU and the University of Sydney are all here.”

Dubbo MP and Deputy Premier Troy Grant gave a talk on the opening day of the conference.

Chef ‘The Black Olive’ Mark Olive with TAFE Western Commercial Cookery teacher Lee Cecchin. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

There were also a number of high profile guests whospoke, including the principal advisor for Indigenous affairs for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, andAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner Mick Gooda.

Renowned Indigenous Chef ‘The Black Olive’, Mark Olive also spoke and prepared the meals for Tuesday night’s dinner at the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre.

The last Bangamalanha Conference was held in 2014, after last year’s had to be postponed and Mr Towney said her thought the conference was helping to make a difference.

He also praised TAFE Western Institute director Kate Baxter for her involvement in and support for Indigenous education.

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