Traineeship teaches valuable life skills for Justus
- 15 March 2021 10:46AM
Meet Justus – a young Gangalidda woman who moved to Brisbane by herself for greater work opportunities.
“My mob is from up north, in a small place called Burketown, but for the majority of my life I have lived in Cairns,” she says.
“My decision to move to Brisbane was impulsive and terrifying but definitely worth it.”
Living far from family and off country is hard, but for the 21-year old the life skills and work experience is providing positive outcomes.
Justus is doing a traineeship in community services with the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy, and her role there as a Housing Officer at an inner-city Housing Service Centre (HSC) is providing a stable foundation for her education.
The department’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traineeships provide 64 First Nations young people with paid work and training until 2023. Trainees gain valuable work skills and explore a career in government through mentoring and hands-on learning.
Justus says she’s learned some quality workplace skills and is looking forward to seeing where the program will take her.
“At the moment, I’m doing a mix of admin and customer support in between training, which is good because I get a lot of variety,” Justus says.
“I’m really interested in developing myself and am looking forward to the life skills I know I’m going to learn along the way.
“I’m also learning how to interact and work with people to create successful outcomes. I was able to assist a distressed mother recently who didn’t have a place to sleep and had no idea what her next step should be. I was able to link her to emergency accommodation and advise her on long-term housing solutions.”
Justus has also been picking up skills in time management, note taking and digital literacy and her manager, Patricia says she’s fit right into the team.
“Justus has become part of the HSC family. From the day she arrived she was helpful and very communicative,” says Patricia.
“She is also happy to share information that may help staff become more culturally aware.
“While working with our Indigenous clients, she has provided staff with feedback, ideas and advice to help them look at things from other perspectives and provided insight on cultural issues that may be impacting particular situations.”
Justus didn’t know what she wanted to do after finishing school.
“My mentor helped me find the traineeship and really encouraged me to go for it,” she says.
“The more I thought about it, the more I felt I wanted a career that was interesting and that would give me pride in my work and help people. So I applied, and got the job.”
Justus says once she started, the staff at the HSC quickly became her biggest inspiration.
“I’ve never worked in such a kind workplace before,” she says.
“Everyone has come from different walks of life and it’s been so interesting getting to know people; their experience is really inspiring.”
Justus has some useful advice for young First Nations peoples considering the move away from country to work or study.
“I say do it. It’s a really good opportunity and it’s definitely worth it because you learn so much.”