Dedication in training rewarded with a top job
A GULMARRAD woman's dedication to community services and training has led to her being named Vocational Student of the Year.
When Susan Knight won it at the recent North Coast and Mid-North Coast Training Awards, it was a recognition of her commitment to the community services sector.
"It was a real honour to receive the award,” she said. "I can't believe how far I've come in such a short period of time.”
After accessing services for her own family, the mother of four decided to study community services so she could help other families.
"When I needed to access services, I found that what I needed wasn't always easily available, was understaffed or too far away. However with the support my kids received, I saw so much positive growth and I wanted to give back,” Ms Knight said.
In 2015 Ms Knight enrolled in a Certificate IV in Community Services at TAFE NSW Grafton. She found studying in 'such a rich learning environment' prompted her to complete a Certificate IV in Disability.
In 2016, Ms Knight received an Award of Excellence from TAFE NSW for Leadership and Contribution to Community and went on to complete a Diploma of Community Services.
"I've implemented a Social Inclusion Day for the community at TAFE NSW Maclean, spoken as a TAFE NSW ambassador at the Skills and Thrills Showcase, Lovebites Program training with young people at a high school and participated in the Zombie Walk to raise awareness of mental health issues in our community.”
However it was her work placement in local organisation Social Futures at the end of 2016 that led to full-time work in 2017 as an NDIS coordinator for the Valley.
"Gaining employment with Social Futures has been my greatest achievement. With the combination of the skills I've gained while studying at TAFE NSW and my personal life experiences, through the NDIS I'm now part of a significant change in the Australian disabilities sector,” she said.