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Stephen's helping others

Stephen Hamilton is a passionate support worker who's encouraging more people to consider a career in Indigenous healthcare.

Born and raised in Sydney, Stephen spent his childhood with family by the water.

"My dad grew up on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory and could speak the local Anindilyakwa language. Growing up, dad used to take us spear fishing using traditional spears around Calabash Bay in Berowra Waters in northern Sydney," Stephen said.

Throughout the years, Stephen's work-life has been adventurous. He's been employed as a deckhand on a fishing trawler, has worked as an infantry soldier, did a stint as a construction worker, was a Telstra technician and also a train guard. His spirit to give anything a go saw him relocate to the sunshine state and enrol as a mature-age student at TAFE Queensland.

"I moved to Townsville in 2018 from Woy Woy in New South Wales. I needed a new direction and decided to do a Certificate III in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (HLT30113). The course was delivered at the Cairns campus in block mode which was a flexible option that suited me. It meant that I travelled to Cairns six times a year to complete two-week-long training blocks."

Stephen, 62, said his training immediately paid off.

"When I completed my certificate I was able to secure employment as a support worker with NDIS provider We2Care."

Stephen said the organisation offers him an excellent work-life balance.

"We2Care is a great company and is a proud multi-cultural organisation that employs people from varied cultures. It's a very flexible workplace which allows me to choose my work hours. I like to take a three to six-hour shift on days that suit me."

Stephen's flexible work roster, coupled with his enthusiasm to learn more saw him return to TAFE Queensland.

"I enjoyed the certificate III course so much I decided to continue my training. I received a TAFE Queensland Scholarship and completed a Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Practice (HLT40213)," Stephen said.

"Completing the certificate IV course allows me to seek registration with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practice Board of Australia. The registration can open up more employment opportunities working with a dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health provider."

Stephen said his TAFE Queensland training had been a valuable experience.

"My teachers were really inspiring and helpful. During the certificate IV training, my teacher Mac McKay was very supportive. It was excellent to have a teacher who had so much knowledge and experience in Indigenous health. He was also a great communicator who liked to tell yarns about some of his experiences which related to the training we were doing."

Stephen said being a support worker was very rewarding.

"As a support worker, I work with Indigenous clients, but not exclusively. My work responsibilities vary, depending on the client's interests and needs. Some days I'll drive to a client's house and pick them up and take them to appointments or to social outings. I could also help clients write their shopping lists, shop for food, prepare meals, and give clients diet and healthy lifestyle advice."

"It is rewarding to help members of our community who require assistance with everyday needs and to help them overcome some of the difficulties they face taking part in daily activities which are often taken for granted in our society. It is rewarding to know that I am valued and that my skills are helping improve the lives of others in our community."