The impact of Covid-19
TITEB CEO Maria Harvey reflects on the impact of Covid-19
The blur that was the 2021/2022 Financial Year has been one of the most challenging times in TITEB’s 22-year history. Constant policy changes due to the global Covid-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on all our programs and placed a strain on staffing levels.
Active Covid cases on the Islands resulted in many pauses in service from late 2021 through to May 2022. The Tiwi people saved themselves and future generations from high mortality by having one of the highest triple vaccinated rates in the Northern Territory remote regions. Congratulations and thanks to everyone on the Islands, including all the health services, who learned to live with Covid and to comply with the directions that have kept the community as safe as possible and kept the Islands operating.
Along with Covid, the CDP program was impacted by numerous policy changes resulting in significantly reduced attendance at activities and training courses. When activities became voluntary attendance dropped from 60% to 30% on a good day. The silver lining is a more positive dynamic at activities and training as we are now working with people who really want to be there.
As Covid restrictions limited access by interstate trainers, the RTO was unable to achieve expected outcomes. Our MOU with Batchelor Institute however, ensured that Certificate I and II Arts students were able to graduate, which demonstrated the importance of local partnerships. For many students, the Graduation Ceremony in June was first time they had received public recognition and it was a proud moment for everyone.
The Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) staff as always have done an amazing job. In particular, the RSAS Futures Expo was a huge success, showcasing the high-level investment from schools, local providers and visiting services in providing high quality education for Tiwi children. With RSAS staff on both islands, we can support all Tiwi children to attend school every day.
The School Nutrition Program staff, who manage school canteens at both schools on Melville Island, were our champions during the height of Covid in Term 1. The ladies quickly became experts at contactless services to ensure all the children received their recess and lunch.
In a year defined by blocks and challenges, we have learned a lot about the health and wellbeing of our Tiwi client base and staff. In addition, many new ways of doing business have been developed to enable our services to continue wherever possible.
A massive thank you to the Board and the whole TITEB team as well as our Tiwi clients, employers, and stakeholders. Well done everyone!