Thurston spoke about the work the JT Academy is doing in helping Indigenous youth access education and employment opportunities.
“Through the Academy, we have been able to provide literally thousands of young Australians with education and employment they would not otherwise have enjoyed,” Thurston said to the forum.
“We have had a focus on regional areas and now excited to be expanding into the NT where we are already starting to build key partnerships to provide these opportunities to locals.”
Thurston’s attendance at the Forum was sponsored by the JTAcademy’s major employment partner Lendlease.
Other speakers at the event include Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt, Aboriginal leader academic Professor Mick Dodson, Chair of Aboriginal Broadcasting Australia Dr Donna Odegaard and Northern Territory Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Education and Workplace Selena Uibo.
The forum, organised by the Northern Territory Government, was designed to encourage those working in Aboriginal businesses, services and programs to network with each other, share knowledge and showcase themselves.
The forum also aims to support discussion on Aboriginal economic development initiatives and strategies and attracts a diverse range of participants from Aboriginal entrepreneurs, private sector, industry, government and non-government organisations from across the Northern Territory.
“This forum was developed in response to the recognition that creating, retaining and growing Aboriginal jobs and businesses in the Northern Territory is important to the economy and wellbeing of local communities,” Thurston said.
“We have seen the value of partnerships in helping to reach those who have fallen through the cracks. We recognise that a large part of being employment-ready means having the confidence and self-belief that you can do it and that is often where we start.
“Through these partnerships and opportunities, we have seen lives change and want to keep doing that in the Northern Territory.”
Thurston has long been a passionate advocate and Ambassador for the Aboriginal community and in 2019 was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to rugby league and as a role model.
Listen to the interview with Johnathan and Mix 104.9 here.