It’s not often you hear a student say her favourite day of the week is spent in an office.


Yet for Clontarf Aboriginal College student Tissy Bedford, her weekly highlight is the days she spends at Coca Cola Amatil’s Perth office as part of a business internship.


Learning basic office and general skills, the sixteen-year old has quickly become part of the office’s administration team.


“Everyone has been really welcoming,” she said, “I really like going.”

While her work is mostly office-based, Tissy was recently given the opportunity to taste-test a new frozen flavour destined for McDonalds. “That was pretty fun,” she said.

The opportunity to work with Coke came last year when Tissy was awarded a sports scholarship and travelled to Perth to complete her senior school studies as a boarder at Clontarf College.

Clontarf College is part of the Clontarf Foundation that supports more than 3,000 Indigeneous students at 63 schools across Western Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria and New South Wales.

The college uses students’ passion for sports to give them an opportunity to succeed and improve their education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects.

 The program changes lives for at-risk students, according to Clontarf College careers coordinator Anne Oliver.

“These employment placements are really great for the kids,” Anne said. “I love seeing confidence build as students like Tissy realise the opportunities that can open up for them after school is finished.”

 Despite the that many of the students live far away from their families, the college makes sure they can go through the same rights of passage as other sixteen year olds, such as getting their learner driver’s licence.

“We run a driving academy, so the kids get their licence before they graduate, which helps with jobs,” Anne said.

“Tissy got her L’s a couple of weeks ago, she’s going well.”

Tissy, a Bardi woman whose family now live in the remote Kimberley town of Derby, spent much of her childhood in the Northern Territory. She represented the Territory in the national junior women’s AFL competition in Canberra at the age of 12.

A talented athlete, Tissy will travel to China in October with fifty young WA athletes to play basketball at the 2013 Friendship games in Shanghai.

Tissy says that though she misses her family, the opportunities at Clontarf and Coke have been worth it.

“My dad Anthony is pretty inspiring to me, he’s an AFL player who is still playing, and he inspires me to keep going with my sport and never give up,” she said.