The first ever Auslan Scholarship Program is underway in the Northern Territory. Growing our own qualified Auslan interpreters will allow us to have our own workforce available to support Deaf Territorians. Partnering with Deaf Connect and YouthWorX NT, the Northern Territory Government is providing $178,400 to run the NT Auslan Scholarship program.

The program will run for two years and nine months with Deaf Connect and YouthWorX NT also contributing $57,900 to the course. Thirteen participants from the across the Territory will take part in this program. The scholarships include five nationally recognised qualifications from Certificate levels II, III and IV through to the Diploma of Auslan and then the Diploma of Interpreting. Classes will be held virtually and will occur weekly. Once these participants graduate, they will be eligible to sit their NAATI exam to gain qualification as an interpreter.

Recently, a new Auslan Interpreter started their tenure in the Territory, where they now assist Deaf Territorians, including the delivery of government services, health, education, justice, support for families and public messaging during emergencies, such as COVID-19 lockdowns.

Quotes from the Minister for Disabilities, Kate Worden: “There are over 230 Territorians who are Deaf or hard of hearing in the NT.  “Growing our Auslan interpreter workforce means we don’t have a gap and can maintain a service to Deaf and hard of hearing Territorians.  “Having access to current information is a right for all Territorians. This is why we have invested in an Auslan interpreter and are running this scholarship program.”

Quotes from the Minister for Education, Lauren Moss:  “Hearing issues can be a huge barrier to students’ learning in our schools.  “This initiative will provide an additional important resource for our schools to assist students who are deaf or hard of hearing and ultimately support better learning outcomes for them.”

Quotes from Brett Casey, CEO Deaf Connect: Deaf Connect currently delivers both accredited and casual Australian Sign Language (Auslan) courses nationally, and we’re excited to see this new NT cohort begin their learning journey. Throughout the training pathway our successful scholarship recipients will be taught by Deaf Auslan users and professional interpreters – giving them the greatest chance at success in the interpreting profession. We appreciate the contribution by the Northern Territory Government to this program and their recognition of the long-term access needs of the Deaf community.

Quotes from Liz Reid AM YouthWorX NT: “YouthWorX NT is proud to be partnering with Deaf Connect to provide best practice training in the Northern Territory. We were incredibly overwhelmed by the interest in the scholarship program and even more delighted to recommend 13 participants through a vigorous prerequisite process. “Congratulations to all, as you embark on the journey of language and learn about the ethical and professional standards required to become an Auslan-English interpreter in the Northern Territory