Desmond Campbell

Desmond Campbell

Taking chances has paid off for this young NT man

Proud Ngalakan man from Ngukurr of south Arnhem Land with the skin name Gojok on my Mother’s side and Gurindji of central, skin name Jungala from my Father’s side. I am a fresh 26 year old, being the youngest of 14 kids all up. Born in Darwin however grew up in Katherine which is roughly 300kms north of Darwin – a town of around 10,000 people with a big river that occasionally floods the town is where I called home for the majority of my life. I attended Clyde Fenton Primary School and completed year 12 at the Katherine High School (Class of 2002 ROCKED!).

Whilst completing my high school certificate I had two jobs for most of it. Working in the Woolies Deli and delivering pizzas. Nothing fancy but gave me my first experiences in the world of employment, so no regrets.

Growing up with my family was awesome. Great bunch, tonnes of fights but double the love. Always being the independent type I moved out of home at the age of 16 and got a housing commission flat with very minimum furniture but I was comfortable. I then decided to move to Adelaide to experience the ‘big smoke’. I enrolled into Tafe where I studied and completed my diploma of business administration while working yet again two jobs – doing administration and night stacking at Coles. After a few years living in the ‘Festival State’ I craved ‘The Outback’ and my family so I decided to move back to the Darwin, Northern Territory.

Taking my chances I decided to apply for jobs with the Federal Government. After numerous attempts I was successful in getting a position as a Project Officer managing an education program for the Federal Government that worked with getting positive educational outcomes with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids. I found my passion and motivation. After a couple of years working in this job I started to get too comfortable and one day my father said to me, “Son, if you want to get any further with your career you have to do some study”. This was huge coming from my father who had very little formal education but yet is the smartest man I know so I thought I better take his advice and after researching found the perfect course – Bachelor in Community Management at Macquarie University in Sydney. Being the impatient person I am and not wanting to leave my family and friends, this course allows me to still work full time and complete my studies full time by block mode and correspondence and is relevant to my work and interests. I’m finding it very hard balancing a career and trying to back that up with study – I’m the worst student ever. But luckily there are loads of people out there who will back you and provide a lot of support such as mentors, tutors, family and friends. Doing this course has really opened up my eyes to a whole new world. The stuff you learn really is empowering and gives you the ticket to board the success train. 

Being Gen Y I started to feel too comfortable again and decided I need a job change – I successfully got a job with the NT Government contributing to polices around student education in the NT and managing programs developed from this policy. I’m still new in the role but I’m very enthusiastic and hungry for outcomes. I plan to be a director in the education sector before I’m 30 and I can honestly say that’s achievable thanks to my family getting me to school, employers taking a chance with me and study.

You can be where you want to be also. Learn, live and survive.... (and don’t forget to volunteer). 


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