Back to work with a traineeship for this mum of two
- 15 March 2021 12:25PM
Deciding to go back to work after caring for young children is never an easy decision.
But for stay-at-home mum Tanarah, it was time to start a career for herself.
“Before I applied for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traineeship, I worked for 6 months at the bank as a teller,” she says.
“It wasn’t quite right for me, so I decided to stay home for a little bit and care for my children.
“But after a while, I felt it was time to go back to the workforce because I’ve always worked, ever since I finished year 10.”
Tanarah is a Gamilaroi and Githabul woman from Inverell in New South Wales and was accepted into a traineeship in business administration in 2020. The traineeship is an initiative funded by the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy and a commitment under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Action Plan.
Her program includes a full-time placement at a Housing Service Centre (HSC) on the outskirts of Brisbane’s southwest, as well as training, mentoring and practical workplace learning.
“The best thing is just that it’s very new to me,” Tanarah says.
“I’ve never done anything like this type of work before. Compared to the bank the HSC is very, very different, but I’ve been able to pick up on a lot of things quickly.
While remaining a devoted mother to her seven-year old son and three-year old daughter around work hours, Tanarah is getting a lot of help through the department’s flexible hours scheme.
“The HSC is very family-orientated and I think that’s what motivates me even more to complete the traineeship because they are very supportive with me being a mum,” she says.
“Being a mum of two can be crazy at times, but the HSC are always open to me doing school runs when I need to.”
Some of Tanarah’s daily tasks on the traineeship include general administration, processing housing applications and refunds for customers, checking rent balances and liaising with staff.
“I’ve been taking phone calls, monitoring the switch board and dealing with people who are really distressed,” she says.
She also completes eight hours of study each week toward her training modules for a Certificate III in Business Administration, which she is able to do at work.
Tanarah has also benefited from the support of local First Nations peers, including John, a Garaynbal man who acts as a mentor to young First Nations trainees who start at the HSC Tanarah works at.
“I like that I’m not the only Indigenous employee here, and John has been a big help since I started,” she says.
“In my first week, he was checking in with me daily and told me not to be afraid to ask any questions, to just come and ask him,” Tanarah says.
“He gave me some really good advice and it felt good hearing from him about what sort of opportunities are at the department to learn and grow.”
Tanarah said initially she felt the traineeship wasn’t going to be an option because of her age.
“I felt it was too late for me to apply because I’m 25, but it wasn’t too late,” she says.
“So if you’re considering a traineeship just go for it, don’t feel that it’s too late to do anything.”