relationships and working with others relationships and working with others

A main theme to emerge from the discussions with learners and trainers is the importance of strong and supportive relationships on learner engagement and persistence.   As well as the relationship between a trainer and learner, other relationships are also important. The support and understanding of peers, family members, colleagues and work- place supervisors also impacts on the learner’s experience.

  • What the learners say
  • What the trainers say


CeciliaCecilia is employed in the nursery in an Indigenous community. On the job training is provided by the workplace supervisor.

Celia talks about happiness in the workplace as a result of good supervisor and peer relationships

Cecilia talks about the importance of peers learning together’


HeleanaHeleana is a trainee teacher and is enrolled in a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning. She previously worked in the areas of land management and eco-cultural tourism. She has completed the Certificates II and III in Spoken and Written English and is completing her final units in a tertiary preparation course concurrently with her teaching studies.

Heleana talks about the importance of role models and peer support to build and sustain learning in remote Indigenous communities’

Heleana talks about building relationships and educating lecturers


JoelJoel is a work-based apprentice. He is currently enrolled in Certificate III in Business and works in an office environment. He has previously completed Certificate III in Music and a certificate in commercial cookery.

Joel talks about the role of the lecturer in building classroom relationships


AngeleeAngelee is a work-based apprentice. She is currently enrolled in Certificate III in Business and is working in an office environment.

Angelee talks about developing individual relationships with lecturers


MaritaMarita is enrolled in Certificate II in Spoken and Written English. She lives in an Indigenous community and periodically travels to a regional centre where her course is delivered in intensive study blocks.

Marita has tips for a lecturer about developing relationships

Marita talks about the importance of learners working together in the classroom


AntonioAntonio is a Teacher Assistant in an Indigenous Community. While at school he participated in VET in Schools programs in Stock work, Commercial Cookery and Sport and Recreation. 

Antonio talks about a poor trainer-learner relationship


MaritaNardene is the current Vice-Chancellors Indigenous Career Cadet at Charles Darwin University. She is studying a Bachelor of Commerce specialising in marketing. She previously completed a Certificate IV in Marketing and a Certificate IV in Community Services.

Nardene talks about the continued support from VET trainers during the transition into Higher Education

Nardene talks about encouraging learner friendships within the classroom environment


Michael is a VET lecturer in Conservation & Land Management. He has extensive experience working with and training Indigenous rangers.

Michael talks about building relationships


AndreeAndree is the workplace supervisor and trainer in horticulture at the nursery in an Indigenous community.

Andree talks about building relationships


FredFred is a VET trainer. He delivers Certificate I in Work Preparation in Indigenous communities. Most training is conducted in the workplace.

Fred talks about the importance of taking time to get to know the learners


IngridIngrid is a first-year-out teacher working at a school in an Indigenous community. Prior to completing a Bachelor of Education Ingrid worked for 13 years as an Aboriginal Islander Education Worker.  

Ingrid talks about the importance of building strong relationships between teachers and Indigenous teaching assistants


Allen MurphyAllen is a musician and music producer as well as a VET trainer in music. He has worked and taught in Indigenous communities for many years.  

Allen advises new VET lecturers to make their own judgement about people and how to deal with people



Strategies for trainers:

Take time to develop trainer – learner relationships before commencing training

Provide for some one on one time between trainer and learner

Encourage peer interaction, peer teaching, and group learning

Respect and acknowledge the skills and knowledge that learners bring with them into the training environment

Be prepared to learn as much as you teach

Ask for, listen to and act on critical feedback on performance

Engage in reflective practice