Luke and his team

Luke Turner was in his first semester at Perth’s Edith Cowan University in 2018 when a learning adviser pulled him aside and told him about the Indigenous Engineering Scholarship being offered by the GO Foundation.  A career in engineering was Luke’s dream.  “Being on the other side of Australia in WA, I hadn’t heard about GO.  So, I did my research, went through the application process and I was honoured to be awarded the scholarship,” he says.

Luke is now working towards his Bachelor of Technology at EDU.  He then plans to undertake another 2 years of study and earn a Master of Engineering. “GO has given me so much,” says Luke. “It’s not just the feeling of belonging you get, it’s the ongoing support. If I’m finding it hard going at uni for whatever reason, like losing my part-time work because of the coronavirus for example, someone at GO is there to talk it through with me.”

Luke Turner

Says Luke, “For me, the biggest impact GO has had on me is the Indigenous culture. I was born in Darwin, but I was disconnected from my Torres Strait Islander heritage as a boy.  I didn’t have a lot of contact with my biological father and I largely grew up with my mum and stepfather in Broome and the Kimberley. We moved to Perth when I was 15.

“While I may be the only GO scholar in WA and far away from GO HQ, I’m included in everything and I appreciate that,” he says. “The mentoring days give me a real boost!” At 26, Luke is a senior among GO Scholars.  As such he feels a responsibility to help set a path for some of the others. “Quite a few GO Scholars are like me. They’ve had a big disconnection from their culture,” says Luke. “I explain to them that just because you didn’t grow up on Country, it doesn’t mean you are excluded from your culture.  Everyone can learn about it, and you can grow into your culture, as much as you want to be involved.”

Luke and his sons

There are two other very important reasons why Luke is so appreciative of his growing knowledge of his Torres Strait Islander culture.  They are his sons Jacob, 7, and Benjamin, 6. “I was 19, when I became a dad,” says Luke. “I’m working hard on being a good role model for my boys. As they grow up, I’m introducing them to our culture and mentors who can help me to guide them.

“In the future I want to be in a position to be able to give back,” he says.  “My work experience so far has been broadening my understanding and knowledge of ways to make less of a negative impact on community.  It’s something I became very aware of from my time in Broome and the Kimberley. My aim is to have a career in the renewable energy industry.  I believe it’s the future.”