The Aboriginal students at Nyangatjatjara College are from non-English speaking, poorly-educated communities, and lag in literacy and numeracy skills, with little experience beyond their remote communities.

Located in Central Australia, Nyangatjatjara College is the only community-based school south of Alice Springs. Three campuses serve three Aboriginal communities: Mutitjulu, Imanpa and Kaltukatjara, providing education from Primary to Secondary School.

Although the College is adequately funded by government for curriculum education, funding is not available for the extra courses and activities that are provided in to address the serious problems facing all Aboriginal schools of low enrollments, low engagement and poor attendance.

Grand Circle Foundation funded a wood working project to help address these needs.

Woodworking is a culturally appropriate skill – in local communities punu or decorated woodwork of traditional artefacts or animal carvings is a highly regarded skill and marketable craft.

The College hired an experienced wood working teacher, and purchased two lathes, one of which is portable.

Students learn basic wood skills – from collecting the wood – both softwood and hardwood (usually from the Yulara rubbish tip) to wood turning and finishing. The students also learn to manage machinery and Occupational Health and Safety principles. Students are able to sell their works at the nearby tourist resort.

The goal is to develop the woodworking program further to include Woodworking skills in the curriculum as recognized subject units, to be assessed towards relevant Certificates of attainment from NT Department of Education.