YOUNG Aboriginal women at Hastings Secondary College are being empowered to take charge of their own futures.
The program, launched this week, aims to identify a student's individual strengths and nurture those so they grow into tomorrow's leaders and role models.
Sista Connections provides academic support, empowerment through entrepreneurialism and employment, wellbeing and community connections aims to reduce barriers that may prevent Aboriginal girls from completing their education and reaching their full potential.
The program will run across both the Port Macquarie and Westport campuses.
Deputy principal Hastings Secondary College, Jacynta Moylan said socially, Aboriginal girls fall behind non-indigenous students in accessing health, education and employment opportunities.
"Sista Connections complements our already well-established Clontarf Foundation which currently operates across the college. It is exciting to see that our Aboriginal girls will now have a space and a support system to assist them through their education," Ms Moylan said.
Sista Connections provides employment pathways for Hastings Secondary College's Aboriginal girls through school-based traineeships (SBATS) in education and health.
The college has two traineeships in place where year 11 Aboriginal girls are placed in partner primary schools and are training to become school learning support officers.
Former students are praising the Sista Connections program and the college's investment in education, learning and growth for young Aboriginal women.
"As a proud Birpai woman and former student of Westport campus, it was a wonderful experience to be part of the Sista Connections launch," Kelly O'Brien, Aboriginal education officer and Sista Connections program manager said.
"I am grateful to work alongside our two school learning support officers at both campuses and two trainees to support our Aboriginal girls across the college.
"Sista Connections is unique and tailored to meet the needs of our Aboriginal girls having been developed through many conversations with our community and our female Aboriginal students.
"This program will allow the girls the opportunity to become the best possible version of themselves."
Aboriginal trainee Shelby Grainger is a graduate of the Port Macquarie campus.
She said Sista Connections is an exciting way forward for students.
"I wished this sort of program was available when I was at school. I love working with our Aboriginal girls on campus and look forward to supporting them to achieve success, whatever that may look like for them." she said.