Goulburn school-based trainee is following her passion to make a difference in her regional community

Year 12 student Isla Rae is on track to become a qualified aged care worker, undertaking a second VET qualification while completing her school-based traineeship and HSC. We chat with Isla, her employer, and SBAT Engagement Officer Pauline Leighton to find out how she manages to balance work, study and school.

Goulburn student Isla Rae smiles at camera while standing in front of aged care facility Goulburn student Isla Rae smiles at camera while standing in front of aged care facility

From a young age Isla knew she wanted a career which involved helping those in need, and waiting until she finished high school to start this career wasn’t an option. When Isla was in year 10 at Mulwarree High School she found out about the opportunity to complete a school-based traineeship (SBT).

In April 2022 Isla started her SBT in Individual Support (Aged Care). Fast forward a year later and Isla is excelling in her SBT, on track to finish early and has just commenced a second qualification, a Certificate IV in Ageing Support.

While in year 12, Isla will be completing her HSC, Certificate III as part of her SBT, and Certificate a IV. That’s a big ask, but SBAT Engagement Officer Pauline Leighton knows Isla is up to the challenge.

“It’s a lot for her to take on, but Isla knows what her future looks like and continues to stretch herself to reach her goals,” says Pauline, who has been mentoring Isla throughout her SBT.

“Isla is very driven, and very contentious. She's also very aware of what’s happening around her in the local community,” she adds.

Isla saw one of the most appealing aspects of a school-based traineeship as being able to follow her passions in her hometown in Tallong, NSW. Isla travels 30 kms one way to attend her on-the-job training in Goulburn.

“I feel good at my job. I am gaining all the essential skills and making a positive difference for our aged care residents,” Isa says. “It’s a great feeling to know that I am valued and supporting the needs of my community,” she adds.

Isla’s employer Valmar Support Services is an Aged Care facility in Goulburn. Since commencing her SBT with them, her supervisors have been very impressed with Isla’s commitment and kind-hearted nature.

“Isla is very passionate about building a career in the Aged Care industry. Isla deals with clients with respect and understands their rights as a valued member of the community,” says Yomi Ogunrinola, Coordinator - Human Resources.

Impressively, Isla is on track to successfully complete her school-based traineeship early by completing additional work hours in school holidays and during weekends. She shows outstanding dedication to her self-directed learning through TAFE NSW and that dedication was the driving force to her commencing a second qualification.

Isla took initiative to negotiate with her Registered Training Organisation (RTO) the option to commence a Certificate IV in Ageing Support in parallel to her SBT and HSC studies. A pathway like this requires commitment and exceptional time management skills, two traits Isla has proven she has in spades. Once receiving approval from her RTO, she met with her school’s Deputy Principal to discuss using her free study lessons to complete units of competency for the Certificate IV course.

“This is not just a tremendous personal achievement for Isla, but testimonial to the value of the Educational Pathways Program, and the support from her careers adviser Hannah Boyers, to what can be achieved by completing an SBAT,” says Pauline.

Isla has shown that with hard work and determination, you can achieve at the HSC level, as well as achieve your career goals and set yourself up on a successful path.

“Working with Isla has been an incredible experience. These young passionate people wanting to work in an industry that is stretched to the limits and gets very little recognition is an absolutely incredible feat and one to be acknowledged,” says Isla’s trainer Hannah Parry.

“My school-based traineeship has shown me what a career in aged care will look like, and I’m really happy with my decision,” says Isla.

The future of the Goulburn community is in great hands with students like Isla leading the way.

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