Ayva is an outstanding young lady who has met so many challenges in her life with determination, motivation and confidence. This is how she has also met her employment and training obligations, achieving outstanding results during her training and traineeship she is completing.
Ayva has been a carer for her mother for as many years as Ayva can recall. Her mother requires assistance with many of her activities of daily living including bathing, dressing, meal preparation, house cleaning and various other activities. Ayva supported her mother during her years at school and continues to provide care and support today.
Ayva has managed the many obstacles she has encountered during her later childhood and teenage years with a positive attitude, developing resilience and determination to succeed at whatever she may be applying herself to. This has included a commitment to supporting others, involvement in her local community and significant sporting achievements.
Kristal Barlow is an inspiring young woman and dedicated student that has battled more than her fair share of hardship, discrimination, illness and abuse during her young life.
Being a teenager mother Kristal never finished her high school education and believed for a long time that her education journey was over. In her twenties Kristal’s life took another turn as was diagnosed – and won – her battle with cervical cancer. On her recovery, now being a single parent to her three young girls, she wanted to set a positive example for them and was introduced to the world of Adult Education.
Kristal enrolled with Atwea College in 2019 and completed the CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) Qualification. Kristal loved her journey and was eager to further her studies by completing the Ageing stream of this qualification too. Unfortunately 2020 was ready to throw another challenge her way and she found herself completing her assessments from hospital while supporting her young daughter through multiple heart surgeries.
Kristal’s determination, bravery and ability is inspiring. Kristal confidently notes that whilst the journey can be hard, Adult Education has changed her life. It has improved her confidence and abilities beyond anything she thought was possible. She is currently volunteering for a Disability organisation and intends to keep studying in the future and working towards meaningful employment in the industry.
In 2018 Olivia completed her high school and enrolled in Certificate III in early Childhood Education and Care (with another RTO) which she found was not what she thought it would be. In 2019 she applied for the above traineeship at Tahmoor medical Centre. Olivia was honest in her job interview and stated she had started another course and did not complete. The employer/organisation had concerns to commence her as they were worried that she might not finish the Administration Medical Certificate as well. These concerns were soon dismissed.
From the initial job interview process, Olivia wanted to be given a chance and prove that she can complete the above qualification with the proper support that she needed. Her employer could see determination, motivation and someone very keen to be given an opportunity to commence employment and learn. Olivia started in the Medical Administration Traineeship in November 2019 at 20 years of age. Having to complete 13 units of her qualification, in 12 months. Olivia completed all her units diligently and professionally, 2 months earlier than her completion date of her traineeship.
Her employer now has opened a second medical centre in Tahmoor. Olivia’s employer, over the last ten months, observed Olivia being reliable, diligent, hardworking, keen to learn and complete tasks thoroughly, promoted Olivia to the Assistant Practice Manager (of the new medical centre) and has given her a wage rise at the age of 20, even before her traineeship had officially completed. Olivia also resides in the local highly disadvantaged area, with high unemployment rates, of Picton and Tahmoor.
Theresa (Mumma) as she is affectionately known by staff and students at YDF is the most amazing, caring, selfless person we have ever met at YDF.
Born in NZ and raised in Samoa she moved to Australia as a new, young bride and started her family. She spent all of her life having and caring for her husband and family. Her children now all adults, she decided it was time to spend some time on herself.
Polly’s journey with our College started back in 2018, when her parents were desperately trying to find something that would help her to build some well needed social skills, following on from her late diagnosis of autism in her early teenage years and her negative experience of schooling.
Born in Cambodia and adopted by Australian parents, Polly’s learning difficulties and developmental delays were regularly attributed with potential trauma that she may have experienced either in utero or in her first year leading up to coming to Australia. It wasn’t until her mother Maria, longing for some answers, had a psychologist connect her condition with autism. Polly’s experience at school didn’t provide her with any confidence in her ability to learn new things, as she was being regularly told that she wasn’t smart or good enough, and she experienced ongoing bullying by her peers.
Maria however could see her daughter light up when she was around animals and in the garden, and a clear focus in her daughter’s intelligence that told her to keep searching for the ‘right’ place for her to learn within. A move from Queensland into Northern NSW, saw Polly leave school at year 9. With the home schooling program proving far too complex for Polly’s learning level, Maria sought out other avenues that Polly could access learning new skills. Without her Year 10 school Certificate, many pathways were closed to her and so she started enrolling in some of the non-accredited art courses offered by our College in 2018. Fast forward to the end of 2019, and Polly had completed 11 short courses ranging from Art journaling, sewing, bamboo building to backyard food production. At each course, Polly’s confidence in social groups grew as she connected regularly with members of the community.
Polly’s confidence in her own learning of new skills grew as well, and she started providing advice to neighbours about their gardens and building structures to assist with their growing. With careful consideration and the backing of her parents, tutors and College staff, Polly enrolled in the Certificate III in Horticulture in January 2020. Although she had a carer present in the early part of the course, her carer resigned after a few weeks, as Polly wanted to go it alone. As the Certificate III course draws to a close, Polly has kept her attendance and assessment progress at optimal levels. She has become an integral part of the class and has made some lifelong friends in some of the students. Her commitment to learning and her uptake of knowledge throughout her journey has been a joy to watch.
Maria speaks of the incredible growth in Polly over the period that she’s been studying all of her courses, but in particular during her time studying the Certificate III in Horticulture. Surrounded by great tutors and mature age students, she felt that she was within a safe and supportive learning environment and this provided her with a new stability in her life. Polly’s self-awareness and resilience grew as she witnessed others in her class and the issues that they were experiencing in their own lives, and this provided a previously unknown perspective for her situation.
Maria speaks of the College being a life saver for her daughter, and is now watching Polly’s confidence and willingness to try new things and set goals gaining momentum daily. Polly has not only secured a job with a local Herb Nursery that specialise in employing people living with a Disability, she is managing her own personal budget and has also started dating for the first time! Maria says at the beginning of this journey they needed a win with Polly. She now calls Polly’s story ‘A Miracle’ and knows that there are other parents and young people like Polly who need to hear her story and find inspiration and hope from it.
Teressa is a determined young woman who has a positive outlook on all things in life. She doesn’t see her cerebral palsy as a barrier and has overcome significant hurdles to achieve her learning and career goals.
After leaving school, Teressa found local employment in retail where she worked for the same country store for 26 years until its closure in November 2019. When faced with redundancy, Teressa took a positive approach, turning disaster into an opportunity to follow her dream to work with the elderly.
In early 2020, Teressa enrolled in the Certificate III in Individual Support specialising in Ageing at Inverell Community College. She emerged a skilled, knowledgeable and highly employable worker just eight months’ later.
Teressa believes that with determination and support, anything is possible. Even changing career paths after 26 years working in the same job.
Kirsty is a fulltime mum of 2 children, she has a beautiful partner who has 6 children as well. Together they raise their 8 children. Kirsty worked hard to be able to buy her first house before she was 21. Kirsty has also worked for over 10 years with people with disabilities on the days she is not at college and whilst her children are at school. Kirsty has said that she has always had a passion to do hair and now was the right time to pursue her dream.
Rocio is currently working in Organisational Development and Learning in the Learning Design and Strategy Team, specifically in the Systems Team. Her role consists of:
– Implementing and maintaining effective administrative systems and processes and making recommendations to improve efficiency, in order to better support the business unit to deliver services.
– Building and maintaining excellent interpersonal relationships with team members in other business areas, in order to effectively arrange and prepare meetings, and to manage the flow of important information throughout these areas.
– Provide support and assistance to other members of the administration team as required, acting as an all-rounder who helps ensure efficient and effective functioning of her team.
Whilst most of her work can be transactional and is completed behind the scenes, Rocio finds it rewarding to see her work contribute to delivering critical business objectives.
Carmel Kentwell is a woman that has faced serious life challenges and hardship. Despite these challenges, she has proven that education is possible for everyone, regardless of the journey that they have been on.
Carmel has three young children, all of whom have identified disabilities, including Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Communication Disorder, Developmental Delays and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Carmel grew up in a lower socio-economic area, having limited access to educational opportunities and found herself in a situation of recurring domestic violence, abuse and homelessness.
Over the course of the last ten years, she has worked diligently to break that pattern and build a better life for herself and her children. She is an admirable student and Atwea College believe that she deserves recognition for her resilience and achievements.
Kylie Mahon, a refuge support worker, is still pinching herself at the way her life has turned around. Two years ago, Kylie and her five children were homeless in Sydney. With the support of a caseworker at a Sydney shelter the family moved to Inverell and Kylie made tentative inquiries about courses at Community College Northern Inland and enrolled in a Certificate III in Community Services at the Inverell College centre. Kylie tells her story:
“I hadn’t picked up a book for 20 years. I had no confidence in myself at all, I was unemployed and very withdrawn. But I met Tania the coordinator. She said, ‘You can do it.’ I think she saw that I was someone who really wanted to change my life but I needed someone to hold my hand and get me started. She has just been amazing. I really wanted to help people who were in the same situation that I’d been in. But not for a second did I think I’d get a job. I thought there are so many people who are more qualified than me.”
Having completed her course, Kylie walked straight out of the College and into work. “My job provider saw an advertisement for a position at the Inverell Women and Chidren’s refuge and said, ‘That job’s for you!’ And we spent a whole day together working on my application. My advice to someone who finds themselves in a similar situation to me? Go for it. Don’t procrastinate. Open that door and walk through it and ask about what education is available to you. It could change your whole life.”
Kylie says the women who stay in the refuge know that she understands from personal experience what they are going through: “That goes a long way with clients. They appreciate that I have knowledge that doesn’t come from textbooks. I just love this work, it’s so rewarding. I had the privilege recently of reuniting a mum with her three daughters and bringing the family back together into a home. That was an amazing feeling.”
Kylie is well qualified for working with women and children subjected to domestic violence. She spent a decade in a relationship with a violent partner, with whom she had four of her five children, who are very proud of her: “My kids and I have a whole new life. I’ve instilled the work ethic in my kids. They can see how committed and consistent and on track I am. We are a very close knit family because of all that we’ve been through. I was surprised to be nominated for a scholarship. I like to think I’m a positive person but I get anxious because I am so used to my life turning into a mess. So it’s surreal to have these amazing opportunities presented to me. I still feel like I’m dreaming.”
Aejay Russell is a proud transgender woman who has achieved so much Kiama Community College (KCC) has privileged to have been a part of her journey. Aejay migrated from the Philippines and has been in Australia for almost three years. Aejay used to work in the Philippines as a hairdresser and when she arrived in Australia wasn’t able to work for a year. Aejay came to study a Cert III in Barbering so that she had industry recognised skills and qualifications. As soon as we met Aejay, she expressed time and again her willingness to work and secure a stable income so that she could afford a rental property and be independent. The College assisted Aejay with a professional and tailored resume which was representative of her current and growing skills and experience. The College also assisted Aejay in her search for work, introducing her to many salons in the Shoalhaven region; she managed to secure her first Australian employment with Moe n Co in Nowra. This was a monumental achievement for Aejay and so very exciting. Aejay stated she felt accepted at KCC and that this was a great experience for her to be a part of a learning community. She has also stated her success is monumental considering barriers she has had to overcome with being transgender and a migrant to Australia.
Rosie de Grosbois hails from Indonesia and English is her second language. She started studying as a nursing assistant, which she had to give up when she found out she was pregnant. Since then she has been working part time in aged care as an assistant, but wanted to get qualified so she can further her work in aged care support.
The Byron Community College was recommended to Rosie by a friend but she was hesitant to study given her fear of writing in English and completing assessments. She “took the plunge” and enrolled in the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) in January 2019. In addition to the writing challenges Rosie is also a mother of three young children and working part-time, however she never wavered completing all her tasks and assessments on time. Rosie comments:
“The tutors and student support were fantastic. They helped me with my writing and completing assessments. I never thought I’d be able to write well in English and now I can.
“It was a lot of hard work and lots to manage but I never gave up, that just wasn’t an option and now it feels so good to have finished and be up to date with all my assessments. I have already recommended the College to another friend to come and study.
“I can’t wait to start working with my qualifications. I have always loved helping people and making them smile.”
Rosie became an Australian citizen on 17 September 2019. She is looking to take up permanent employment in the aged care industry soon.
Natasha Ducker had an employment history within the transport industry; in preparation to re-enter the workforce, she decided a business role would suit her and her family’s needs. She knew that this would require her to undertake further study. Natasha originally commenced a Certificate II course with the Riverina Community College, and it became evident that her skill level was well above Certificate II level, so she enrolled in a Certificate III Business Administration.
While waiting for the Certificate III Business Administration course to commence, the Riverina Community College Business Coordinator received a call from a well-known business owner in Wagga to ask for suggestions of students who would work well within his industry. Natasha was successfully interviewed and commenced a full-time role with the business the next day. Since commencing employment and through a partnership with her employer and the College, Natasha is undertaking a Certificate III Business Administration via a combination of work-based and distance learning.
Natasha is methodical, thorough and dedicated in how she balances work, family and study. She is very highly regarded in the workplace, and is working with the management team to integrate the current administration processes to increase efficiency. The integration of work with study has added value to both aspects of this, as Natasha is able to see first-hand how the study can improve her work practices, and also how her high level of skill is able to be formally recognised through the study she is undertaking.
Brittany Muller has proved herself a mature and confident person, staying on track at all times with her studies and her training plan. Brittany has also proved herself an asset in the workplace. Completing her traineeship within the allocated timeframe allowed Brittany to commence her studies for the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. This shows that Brittany is dedicated to lifelong learning and the early childhood sector.
Brittany is employed with another OOSH and her new employer is very impressed with her knowledge and dedication to the industry. During her studies with TLK Community College, Brittany proved her ability to articulate herself and provide completed assessment tasks above and beyond what was required for a Certificate IV level.
Being in the early childhood industry, Brittany has had to participate in teams for her work and she has had to liaise with parents, community members and other stakeholders within the sector. This industry can be very challenging at times and Brittany has developed the necessary skills through her studies such as effective communication and resilience to deal with any issues that may arise. Brittany is currently completing her Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, requiring her to show leadership in her field of expertise.
Brad Wilson lives in Barellan, a small rural community in the NSW Riverina. While undertaking his Certificate 1 in Access to Vocational Pathways he has been employed part time at the Barellan & District War Memorial Club. The board members of the club have the highest respect for Brad for the quiet efficient way that he goes about his tasks maintaining stock and inventory at the club.
Throughout the time that Brad has been attending Western Riverina Community College (WRCC) he has demonstrated significant growth in both personal confidence and communication skills. Within the class environment he has demonstrated great leadership skills and the ability to relate to other students and assist them in complex tasks.
Between Brad’s studies and his part-time employment, he shows his real talents with his artwork. His artworks have graced several local exhibitions, most recently the Leeton Shire Council, which invited him to display one of his pieces of a local landmark in their Art Deco festival.
The support that Brad receives from his family, local community, Griffith Post School Options and also vocational education have allowed him to look at broadening his horizons and encouraged him to start marketing his artwork.
Bradie Woodman is young woman who struggled to obtain full time work and after experiencing some personal trauma. She was fortunate to gain the opportunity to participate in a Skilling Queensland for Work program with Youth Development
Foundation (YDF), completing a six week program called “Ready for Work”. Her participation in this program has completely changed her life. It has been pivotal for her to be able to turn her life around, overcome personal challenges and create hope and positivity for her future. She is now employed full-time and has completed a traineeship in Certificate III in Business.
Bradie came to YDF a shy, quiet young lady who had no idea of where she headed with life, let alone employment or further education and training. After a short time YDF could see her confidence growing and her connecting with others on her program. Her dedication to helping others prompted YDF to offer her employment, which has worked out very well.
Lakisha Sloane lives in Broken Hill in Far West NSW. This region experiences high levels of youth and generational unemployment. Through sheer determination and family encouragement, Lakisha achieved her Year 12 certificate.
Lakisha then diligently applied herself to complete vocational education at Robinson College. Enrolling into non-traditional mining/construction and high-risk tickets, she stepped out of her comfort zone and completed each one. These qualifications secured ongoing employment opportunities for her. She inspires other young Aboriginal woman to achieve their own goals in areas of employment and sport which are typically non-traditional roles.
Family support, vocational education and employment have changed Lekisha’s future prospects.
Jessica studied a Diploma of Leadership and Management, and completed a traineeship through MVS National Valuations and Property Consulting guided by her Tamworth Community College trainer. Throughout her training, Jessica overcame significant personal and health challenges, gained confidence and developed some impressive career and life goals. As a rural based student with a new yearning for further tertiary education, and no university in Tamworth, Jessica was able to access the College’s articulation agreement with University of Newcastle. This meant Jessica could go on to enrol in a Bachelor of Business and credit transfer her Diploma qualification to contribute to completion of her degree. Jessica is a shining example of the flexibility and value of a VET pathway, particularly for rural and regional students.
Caitlin is a young woman who had the tenacity to balance a full time role and vocational studies in the year she lost her mother. She faced substantial personal and family grief, loss and challenges. Caitlin knew further education was an investment in her future so she never gave up.
Caitlin is a dedicated, passionate, reliable and determined 26 year old who every day supports clients with disabilities, ensuring at all times their rights, choices and individual outcomes are met in an inclusive and respectful way, she also provides guidance to other team members who support clients with disabilities. She has a major role in leading, training and supporting them to make better decisions with and for our clients so they have opportunities for meaningful participation and active inclusion.
Aaron Curry, a young aboriginal man, was born in Penrith moving to country Victoria at age two. Family issues resulted in him leaving home shortly after turning 16. Aaron moved to Wollongong completing a term at Bulli High School before being expelled due to behavioural issues. He completed year 11 and part of year 12 at ALESCO Illawarra before failing an HSC exam and losing the unit towards his HSC. As an alternative university entry pathway Aaron undertook the University of Wollongong (UOW) Pathways Course conducted by the WEA Illawarra. He successfully completed a Certificate IV in Business and was accepted by University of Wollongong into a Bachelor of Arts majoring in psychology. While waiting for his university year to start Aaron also completed a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management. Aaron has achieved his goal and is currently undertaking his university studies while working part time in WEA Illawarra’s enrolment office.
Natasha (“Tash”) studied short courses in barista, make-up and nail technology to pathway into her Certificate III in Beauty Services. Through hard-work and grit, Natasha overcame personal barriers and learning difficulties to become a College Student Ambassador, recently giving a presentation at a Student Recognition Dinner. Tash is now confidently working as a volunteer Beauty Therapist and Drama Coach at a local disability services organisation. She treats clients to facials and make-overs and runs small drama workshops to help boost the self-esteem and resilience of others with disabilities.
Emma enjoyed learning at school, however left early due to mental illness.
Due to Emma’s negative learning experiences, she was reluctant to return to study. Encouraged to join the College’s Foundations class, Emma found this to be a positive experience, completing a Certificate III Individual Support (Disability), gaining employment with Kiranari Disability Services.
Emma’s confidence and self-esteem have been rebuilt, giving her the acquired skills to assist others in similar situations.
While studying, Emma volunteered for Disability Drama Company and primary schools special education unit, inspiring Emma to obtain formal qualification.
Jasmine is a young mum of two who has drastically turned her life around. She is currently studying a Certificate I Business while working with disadvantaged youth to assist them to improve their lives. Jasmine has come from a very tough upbringing, become an amazing person and is now using her experiences to assist young people who are experiencing similar situations while completing her study.
Shiva Smyth began his studies with Byron Community College as a qualified automotive vehicle painter, and by the end of the year was a certified horticulturist on a completely different career path. Today he is running his own property maintenance and landscaping business with great success. The business has multiple clients and is growing. He has engaged a fellow Byron College horticulture graduate as a subcontractor and feels great networking with other local businesses and different people in the community. Shiva also works as an environmental education consultant for Brisbane City Council conducting education programs for all ages at Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, a position that he feels proud of as it provides him with the opportunity to give back to the broader community.
Jolie studied Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged Care) at Coffs Coast Community College. Originally from the Congo, Jolie fled to a Zambian refugee camp for seven years before arriving in Australia. Jolie is a single mother with four children who could speak Swahili, French and eight other African languages – but not English – when she first arrived. After earning a Certificate III in English, she decided that aged care was important after seeing the suffering of her people in Congo and Zambia. She works at St Joseph’s Aged Care in Coffs Harbour as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN).
Julia studied Certificate IV in New Small Business at Byron Community College. A former actor and dancer, Julia has overcome substantial personal, family and health challenges to start a new business, Micro-living Australia, which manufactures expandable, contemporary designed, off grid optional dwellings that are location flexible, easy to install and inexpensive. Her course at Byron rebuilt her confidence and helped her to create a business plan. She has two young adult sons and feels compelled to help them and others achieve the Australian dream of owning their own home.
Madhi Akbari, while at Macquarie Community College, studied Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways, Certificate III in Individual Support, Certificate IV in Ageing Support and General Education for Adults. A migrant to Australia from Iran along with his wife, Madhi holds a Bachelors and a Master of Philosophy from his home country. He has overcome the challenges of no local family, not knowing English and requiring re-education, and now works with home care provider “The Cooperative Life”; he has recently won the “employee of the year” award.
Georgia studied Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged Care). She recently graduated from high school, has a small learning disability, and is supported by Griffith Post School Options (GPSO). Georgia has been a highly assiduous student, committed to her studies and to developing a career and self-sufficiency. Her ability to get along with people makes her a natural fit for her chosen career.
Tony studied Certificate III in Individual Support. He has learning difficulties due to dyslexia and two brothers with muscular dystrophy. After losing his job, he decided to change careers and become a qualified carer. With more practice, including support from teachers, trainers and classmates, his reading has improved greatly. Tony is a great raconteur, sharing stories that are enthralling, sometimes riotously funny and sometimes painfully tragic. His own family history means that he understands the challenges of supporting families with disabilities. Tony now works with St Agnes Parish Centacare in Port Macquarie.
Dimitri studied Computers for Beginners and Introduction to Microsoft Word. Growing up in Darwin, Northern Territory, Dimitri’s primary year schooling taught him little. Following Cyclone Tracy in 1974, his family moved to Sydney and he had no clothes. He has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years as bar attendant, waiter, cook and hotel receptionist, and owned his own takeaway shop for 16 years. His further study in computers has helped to advance his career as a Security Officer at the University of NSW, and he looks forward to entering management and extending his leadership skills.
Marcelle studied Certificate I in General Education for Adults. Marcelle arrived in Australia from Egypt in 1968 with her husband and young son. She first lived in a Housing Commission flat in South Melbourne, then purchased a home in St Albans and now lives in Mill Park. She worked for Telecom (later Telstra) for more than 20 years and raised 2 children, with little time to study. Because of how LLLC helped her life, she has joined the Committee of Management and provides a role model for others to study.
Ben studied Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing), Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) and Introduction to Leisure and Health. Born in Melbourne, Ben moved with his family to country Victoria and most recently to the Tweed. His original career in air-conditioning systems brought him in contact with elderly people, and he decided to change careers to work in aged care. His exemplary performance on vocational placements resulted in his gaining employment prior to even completing the placements. He currently works as a disability support worker at Lifebridge.