• All aboard a private Qantas jet for the annual CareerTrackers conference. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
CareerTrackers is now in its 10th year of operation and the charity organisation is celebrating with a chartered Qantas flight.
Madeline Hayman-Reber

11 Feb 2020 - 9:06 PM  UPDATED 11 Feb 2020 - 9:06 PM

For many Indigenous students CareerTrackers is a foot in the door to a successful career, and for others it's changing the way their families and communities think about higher education and the opportunities that can arise.

Currently celebrating it's 10th year of operation, the charity organisation provides participants with internships as well as the chance to develop leadership and career development skills through various workshops held throughout the year.

"I've had the opportunity to travel the state, to broaden my networks, also meet other Indigenous students from other networks and other companies," Environmental Science student Keenan Smith told NITV News.

"I look forward to working with a lot of Indigenous students over the next ten years and imagine us working in different corporate bodies and taking over corporate Australia," said Keenan, a Kokatha, Wirangu and Mirning man.

CareerTrackers has an alumnus of over 812 students, with a further 261 graduating from various universities around the country this year. Since the organisations inception in 2009, its interns have earned over $72 million.

One in three participants of the program have family members who have completed, or are currently part of, the program. For some, that is life changing.

The main annual event is the Leadership Development Institute, which this year saw dozens of students board a chartered Qantas flight in Sydney for a flight to Melbourne - a first for the organisation.

At the gate, the students were both greeted and farewelled by former AFL player Adam Goodes.

"The students that you're seeing board behind me are really breaking barriers with the types of jobs that they're going to end up having careers in," Mr Goodes told NITV News at Sydney airport.

"It's really creating a new generation of Indigenous kids, men and women, that want to work in corporate Australia... not just being there to make up the numbers, but also to make a difference."


According to Career Trackers, over 5000 internships have been provided to participants of the program, through partnerships developed since 2009.

The organisation was started by African American man Michael Combs who, as a young executive, said he saw a gap in the market one day during a meeting when he looked around and realised there were no Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people sitting in the room with him.

Ten years on, Mr Combs has handed over the reins to new CEO, Rodney Williams, who said he plans on taking the initiative to the next level.

"To have a full flight, full of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, was an absolutely unique and amazing experience. As an Aboriginal person, I really found that to be an incredible celebration of not just achievement, but our culture," Mr Williams said.

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