Vanessa Harris has wanted to pursue a career in nursing since she was a young child.
You could say it's in her blood, as her grandmother and an aunt were both nurses.
Vanessa, 16, was one of a group of female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Mount Austin High School who visited Wagga Base Hospital on Thursday for a showcase of nursing and midwifery career opportunities.
The visit was part of a NSW Health recruitment strategy to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the nursing and midwifery workforce.
NSW Health traineeships are available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and include professional, financial, and cultural support.
While Vanessa has long been keen on a nursing career, her fellow students Charisma Pitts, 17, and Charlotte Mitchell, 17, are still weighing up their options.
Both girls, however, were keen to find out more about a career in nursing.
The students' visit to Wagga Base was sponsored by The Smith Family as part of it program Girls at the Centre.
The Smith Family is fundraising throughout June to in a bid to raise $4 million to continue to keep programs like these going.
The Smith Family's chief executive officer Lisa O'Brien said key international measures showed Australian children from disadvantaged backgrounds were most likely to struggle at school.
Reports by the Australian Council for Educational Research show the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students, at age 15, is equivalent to around three years of schooling. Students experiencing disadvantage report lower levels of motivation to learn and achieve than their more advantaged peers, she said.
"These reports highlight the significant education gap we have here in Australia between students who are growing up in our wealthiest and poorest households," said Dr O'Brien.
"Sadly the kids who most need the extra support to keep up at school are from families who can least afford it or who may not have the skills or confidence to support their children's learning. The further behind they fall, the more likely they are to disengage altogether.
"Our evidence-based programs encourage these children to stay in school and make the most of their education, so they have the best opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. It's not just about helping them lift their academic performance but giving them the confidence to believe in themselves and the motivation to strive for a better future."