A career with Fire and Rescue fires up Makayla

Makayla Allen, who completed her HSC in 2023 at Granville South Creative and Performing Arts High School, is on her way to securing a career with Fire and Rescue thanks to the support offered through the EPP and her school.

Makayla Allen in front of a Fire and Rescue vehicle Makayla Allen in front of a Fire and Rescue vehicle

Making a decision about your career path can be a daunting experience for any high school student. For Makaya Allen, this decision was made easier with the help from school staff and participating in pathways programs.

Makayla Allen graduated from Granville South Creative and Performing Arts High School in 2023, describing her experience at school, Makayla says “it was a safe environment that made me feel comfortable”.

“I really loved school and the friends I made there. I had favourite teachers and sport was my favourite subject. I received a lot of support from my careers adviser who helped me find a really good job that I still have today.”

Angie Sisala, EPP Head Teacher Careers for the Parramatta South group of schools, says Makayla was a “very dedicated student and showed a lot of resilience in school. It was clear that she felt safe at the school and with the support of teachers around her.”

Before finishing Year 12, Makayla explains that she was “scared to leave school” because she was unsure of what she wanted to do afterwards. Her careers adviser, Renuka Rama together with Angie, helped Makayla explore career options by recommending vocational programs for her to experience.

One of these programs was a TAFE NSW taster day for the aged care industry. Makayla learned about the care of elderly people and had the opportunity to visit an aged care facility in Bankstown and spent time with the residents which she found very rewarding.

It was the second opportunity where Makalya found her true passion. She participated in an open day at a local fire station and instantly knew it was a working environment she wanted to be in. With the help of Renuka and Angie, Makayla secured work experience at the Fire and Rescue NSW Emergency Services Academy, Orchard Hills, further cementing her choice of career.

Makayla is currently working at her local pools as a lifeguard, a job she secured with the help of her careers adviser, and has her sights firmly set on a career with Fire and Rescue. She is working to get her driver's licence - a requirement for the job - and getting assistance from Indigenous Fire and Rescue Employment Strategy (IFARES) to help her prepare for a career with Fire and Rescue.

“There are so many students who don’t know what careers are out there, and by getting involved in programs like Makayla did, not only are they getting hands-on experience in a range of different careers, but they are also coming out if it being able to make informed decisions about their career,” says Angie Sisala.

The EPP offers a range of vocational education courses for students to get a taste of different careers. They can also lead to further opportunities such as apprenticeships and traineeships, and sometimes full time employment.

Makayla is also very passionate about recommending these programs to other students.

“If you are stuck on what to do for a career, these programs allow you to get out there and try everything”, says Makayla.

“Ask your careers adviser about what you can do. If it turns out you don’t like something, try something else. There are so many options available.”

Makayla’s journey is a testament to the importance of these vocational programs and the difference it can make to their post-school pathway.

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