Thursday, July 11, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Traineeship Kickstarts Big Dreams Of Healthcare Careers

Eleven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with big dreams took their first steps towards a career in healthcare last week.
The Budyubari Bidyiri Kebi Stapal (Big Dream, Small Steps) program 2024 cohort is beginning its 12-month school-based traineeships across selected departments at Mackay Base Hospital.
The traineeship will equip the students with a Certificate III  qualification in either Health Services Assistance or Allied Health Assistance while they are still in high school.
Mackay Hospital and Health Service (HHS) organisational development manager Kelly Klemen said the Year 11 students came from six Mackay region high schools including Holy Spirit College, Northern Beaches High School, St Patrick’s College, Pioneer High School, Sarina High School and Mackay State High School.
“We will have six students graduate in September this year from the Big Dream Small Steps program in 2023 and we are excited to have another 11 students who are wanting to complete the Certificate III qualifications while they are finishing high school,” Ms Klemen said.
“The aim of the program is to build our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce to better reflect the community we care for.”
The program requires students to complete one day per week at the hospital. This gives the trainee ‘on-the-job’ experience and helps develop foundational skills, knowledge and practical experience working in the health sector, Ms Klemen said.
Grace Ridge, who is a student at Holy Spirit College, hopes the school-based healthcare traineeship will provide her with a pathway to a career in healthcare after she finishes high school.
“I’ve always told my mum since I was little that I wanted to be a baby doctor,” Grace said.
“I’m very interested in a career in midwifery so I’m looking forward to starting work in the child and adolescent unit next week, being hands on and learning some new skills,” she said.
Northern Beaches High School student Kassidy Davis said the traineeship was a practical learning opportunity which enabled her to grow in confidence and earn formal qualifications while still at high school. It was a stepping stone to further study, she said.
“The traineeship also helps us get priority when applying to study a nursing course at university,” she said.
Maleek Brennan, a Year 11 student at St Patrick’s College, said the traineeship was a fantastic opportunity to kick-start his allied health career.
“I’m interested in dietetics but will get the chance to shadow an occupational therapist as part of traineeship, so it will help me make final decisions about my future career,” he said. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be part of the program.”
The Big Dream, Small Steps program is a collaborative effort which provides a network of support for students. It is funded through Metro North’s Deadly Start program which has partnered with registered training organisation (RTO) Connect ‘n’ Grow to deliver the training. Students are also provided with support by Seed Foundation Australia.

Budyubari Bidyiri Kebi Stapal (Big Dream, Small Steps) program trainees, back from left, Joni Thompson, Maleek Brennan, Imogen Joseph, Isabella Coe and Keleisha Bridson and front row from left, Grace Ridge, Kassidy Davis, Aaliyah Shiner and Briseis Tass.
Trainees Grace Ridge, Maleek Brennan and Kassidy Davis. Photos supplied: Mackay Hospital and Health Service

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