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Business trainees innovating career pathways with TAFE Queensland

TAFE Queensland’s Toowoomba, Ipswich and Kingaroy campuses are all the richer thanks to three business administration trainees recruited for South West Region’s inaugural First Nations Traineeship Program — supporting the organisation’s First Nations Employment Strategy.

In June 2023, TAFE Queensland advertised three opportunities, inviting applications from Indigenous candidates to contribute to TAFE Queensland’s purpose, as well as progressing their own careers via their completion of a Certificate III in Business (BSB30120) traineeship.

Several months in, our training organisation and our students have enjoyed significant enrichment from the employment of Maddy Hajiali (Ipswich campus), Jack Kemp (Toowoomba campus) and Rose McMahon (Kingaroy campus) within the student services and customer services teams. 

Whilst sharing their optimism and commitment to TAFE Queensland values, they’re inching closer towards obtaining their business qualifications.

Having originally studied business in high school, Maddy, who is from the Miriwoong and Yawuru mob in the Kimberleys, welcomed the chance to commence a business traineeship. Now she is enjoying her time at the Ipswich campus and is learning helpful new workplace skills.

“I was really surprised when I got the job, and my mum was even more excited because it was my first job!” Maddy began.

“I’ve learnt how to be more forward when I talk with others and working in a larger team has helped me to be more confident.”

“Plus, working while studying keeps me motivated to continue to improve on my business skills, such as Excel and Word skills, that I can use in the future as well,” Maddy added.

Maddy is enjoying her role at the TAFE Queensland Ipswich campus.

Jack, a proud Wiradjuri man, has also settled into his role having made the change from the hospitality industry.

Jack has truly appreciated the opportunity to learn from his colleagues, developed strong business etiquette and sees his pending qualification as part of his journey towards continuing his career at TAFE Queensland.

“I’d definitely encourage others to take up the opportunity when it arises!” Jack said.

“Working with all the people in my team has been a highlight of the traineeship so far — they’ve just been great. I’d say that’s the best part,” he added.

Jack’s manager, TAFE Queensland’s Student Experience Manager (South West Region), Michael Quinn, commented on Jack’s enthusiasm for the role.

“Jack has provided a very positive contribution in working within both our customer services team, and more recently the student services team, where he has continued to efficiently process the many administrative requests that come across his desk each day,” said Michael.

While at the Kingaroy campus, Rose, who is from the Wakka Wakka and Santo mobs, has been tasked with many important briefs since starting her traineeship — least of which was updating more than 600 students’ new timetables, which required significant coordination and attention to detail. 

As for future career options, Rose’s heart now seems to be with TAFE Queensland.

“I definitely do see myself working for TAFE Queensland, whether it’s doing something similar to what I’m doing now or working with Indigenous youth — helping them out,” said Rose.

Rose is keen to continue her career journey with TAFE Queensland.

TAFE Queensland Director of People and Culture (South West Region), Steven Spina, said the traineeship program was implemented as part of a range of Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) strategies across the organisation.  

“These traineeships support our commitment to progressing TAFE Queensland’s RAP and First Nations Employment Strategy,” Mr Spina said.

“At TAFE Queensland, our vision is to advance equal social and economic opportunities for First Nations people in Queensland, including fostering career growth through employment strategies.”

“We’re committed to creating a workplace where our diverse workforce is valued and supported to thrive, and we’re excited to see where this opportunity takes Maddy, Jack and Rose.”