THIRTY years ago a program designed specifically to equip Indigenous people with new skills first began, but it was never imagined it would continue on for so long.
The Aboriginal Rural Training Program (ARTP) celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Yanco Agricultural Institute at the end of September, showing its continues to be a strong initiative to this day.
The program offers culturally appropriate vocational education and training for Aboriginal organisations, properties and communities.
The Tocal College initiative has delivered training to Aboriginal people in NSW and other states since 1989.
It designs, develops and delivers VET training in agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management, cultural sites assessment and cultural awareness.
These courses are delivered across the state to communities, schools, the Indigenous Land Corporation, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Local Land Services.
Those in the MIA are able to access the program through Yanco's Tocal College campus, with many success stories over the years, according to Tocal College principal Darren Bayley.
"Over 30 years the program has developed and grown ... it now offers full qualifications, as well as teaching those valuable skills," he said.
"It was great to see everyone come together (at Yanco) to celebrate the 30th anniversary and what has been achieved.
"The program continues to be very valuable ... we're also lucky enough that most of our teachers and assessors are Aboriginal and Indigenous people.
"This means cultural awareness, understanding, and connection to country and community are always at the forefront."
The celebration at Yanco also included the sharing of stories from over the years, as well as some delicious bush tucker.
"What also sets this program apart is the ongoing role Aboriginal communities, both rural and remote, have played in initiating the program, and in continually shaping and refining it," Mr Bayley said.
"This is not only reflected in its history, but in the awards the program has received."
To commemorate the occasion, the NSW DPI has launched an e-book, detailing the last 30 years, the lessons learned and the stories shared.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox every Friday at 6am from The Irrigator. To make sure you're up to date with all news in Leeton sign up here.