Nikita’s honour breaks down barriers

AWARD: Nikia Charlton was recently awarded the University of South Australia Gavin Wanganeen Aboriginal Scholarship. The mother-of-three is nearly finished a social work degree.

AWARD: Nikia Charlton was recently awarded the University of South Australia Gavin Wanganeen Aboriginal Scholarship. The mother-of-three is nearly finished a social work degree.

A local student has been awarded the University of South Australia Gavin Wanganeen Aboriginal Scholarship, thanks to support from the Reconciliation Action Committee funded through the State Development Department.

Social work student Nikita Charlton has been awarded $5000 to help complete her last year of university studies.

Ms Charlton says she overcame significant challenges to enrol in a degree at university as a mother of three.

“When starting university in 2012, my children were very young and I had very little education being an early school leaver, completing only one year of high school,” she said.

“But with the amazing support I received from lectures and advisers ... I am now looking to complete my degree. I want to work in rural and remote communities, promoting equality and encouraging young Australians to access services that allow them to break down barriers to their education and gain a better quality of life.”

The scholarship is named after former AFL champion Gavin Wanganeen.

The bursary eases the financial burden of students during their studies and provides an on-going sense of pride that will last a lifetime. 

Aboriginal students face significant barriers to accessing learning, skills development and employment opportunities.

Many of the students supported by the state government through this initiative have gone on to find employment and are providing leadership in their chosen fields.

The Department of State Development’s Skills and Employment division has supported a final year student to complete their studies since 2013.

The Gavin Wanganeen Aboriginal Scholarship was the first scholarship of its kind in Australia and has received overwhelming support from the community.

Since its establishment in 2005, 35 UniSA students have now benefited from this life-changing initiative.