The Champion Centre is a community centre focused on bridging the gap between First Nations Australians and the broader population, and provides a gathering place for Aboriginal people and for agencies working with them. The Masters of Law, Policy and Government postgraduate student had the opportunity to get involved in the Centre’s programs, including help set-up a community café, provide day-to-day assistance to the team and “really come to understand the non-stop work that happens at the local government level to improve peoples’ lives”.
“There were so many rewarding elements. My days at the Champion Centre often left me in awe at the immense number of tangible improvements to First Nation lives and the broader Armadale community it made,” said Mr Lumley.
The West Perth resident believes “There is a monumental amount of work and resources that need to be allocated to deal with the pressing issues that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face in Australia.
“Local government organisations such as the Champion Centre are poised to provide the best care and information because they are part of the community, therefore understand the specifics of community needs and how resources should be spent to get the maximum benefit,” said Mr Lumley.
The City of Armadale Aboriginal Development Coordinator and internship supervisor Jodie Clarke said, “Antonio was an incredible addition to our team while he was with us. He was open to all aspects of working within a community centre and was able to engage with Aboriginal families and Elders very well.
“I hope he sees the Champion Centre people as part of his family and comes back every now and again to check in with us.”
Reflecting on his experience, Mr Lumley said he would “absolutely recommend McCusker Centre internships” to his peers at UWA.
“The McCusker Centre for Citizenship program provided an avenue to get firsthand experience and a chance to put my education, communication, and research skills to use in a productive and meaningful way.
“As I have begun my graduate job search at the beginning of this year, I am prioritising work that benefits local communities or advocacy roles to improve the lives of those that need help the most.”
More than 1,400 students have now undertaken their internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship contributing more than 155,000 hours in service to the community.
Director Michelle Scott said the overwhelming number of applications from students to participate in the internship program was a sign that young people were increasingly seeking opportunities to engage with and give back to their communities.
“It is clear UWA students have a great appetite for internships with a social purpose,” Ms Scott said.