Facilitating Life Skills

NIYLA Alumni Facilitators

To coincide with the 6th Anniversary of the National Apology, the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy (NIYLA) brought together 11 of our 2013 Alumni to participate in 2days of Facilitation Training in Melbourne. It was a wonderful 2 days in which we explored what is facilitation, how our young people can lead workshops in their own communities and develop tools to help them to engage their peers, communities and schools.

I believe that facilitation skills are life skills, as they require an individual to have an understanding of themselves, appreciate perspective and the importance of establishing a safe space. These skills are so important well beyond the workshop or classroom, and are important skills particularly for young people to develop. When we explore ourselves as facilitators in order to gain a deeper understanding of our beliefs, values and emotions is requires an equal amount of vulnerability, courage and trust. These 3 equally important components would not be possible without establishing a safe, learning and warm environment, which I am proud to say our team has been able to develop through meaningful relationships with our young people since our National Gathering in August 2013.

Developing perspective is rooted in empathy, humility and reflection and comes from a deep belief that, no two people will experience something in the same way. This notion of experience leads to the understanding that we as individuals are doing the best we can, with what we have right now. At a deeper level it explores the element of truths and who holds the truth of any situation.

Exploring these areas, which many of us shy away from is an act of bravery. Our young people extended themselves, challenged their perceptions and supported each other. Which was evident of the environment we established across the 2days. We told them they would be challenged but they would walk away with a stronger connection to each other, a greater understanding of themselves, the confidence and capability to lead a workshop or co-facilitate a NIYLA forum. They took a deep breath, adjusted their shoulders and nodded with focus in their eyes.

Clip by NIYLA Alumni, K’Tahni Pridham, 17, SA. Check out her movie blog

We created a space for discussion, debate and understanding. What happened in that space we established was remarkable. Our belief during our workshops is the ‘knowledge is in the group’ and our role as facilitators, facilitating a facilitation training workshop was acknowledging the skills the group have and continue to build their knowledge and provide the space for them to explore deeper their role as a facilitator, a friend, a students and as someone aspiring to lead positive change.

Gandhi - Quote

I believe facilitation skills are life skills. Today, when I look at our leaders at all levels, I see a battle to be a voice heard above the mob, I see one persons perspective being established as a truth representative of many truths and I see an environment that treasures intimidation, anger and authority over perspective, courage and trust. If flexing your muscles was once a form of leadership then the skills you gain from facilitation will lead us into a new understanding of leadership, which I believe would transform leaders from the grassroots to the national level.

That is why we teach life skills. We are developing a generation of changemakers to lead positive change in communities across Australia.


Applications from NIYLAs 2014 National Gathering are currently open! If you know an Indigenous young people who you think is doing something special, tap them on the shoulder and tell them and encourage them to apply for NIYLA – it might be the next step in their journey!

Find out more about NIYLA & how to apply for our 2014 National Gathering!

Checkout our leadership philosophy ‘Values in Action’


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