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Community midwife in 10 years time


A young woman with dark hair, wearing glasses and a pale shirt stands in front of some trees. In the background and to the right is a building entrance made mainly of glass windows set in metal frames.
Nursing student Carleigh Lake
8 May 2020

Carleigh Lake was very ‘stand offish’ when she met with staff at Tapa Warpulayi-itya (Tapa), a Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) based in South Australia.

‘I was attempting to study a bridging course at Adelaide Uni but I withdrew, as I wasn’t ready to commit to it,’ Carleigh said.

‘I had just came out of Year 12 and wasn’t independent enough to study as I had just moved from Port Lincoln to Adelaide and was living alone so getting used to that was a big change.’

While on Jobactive, Carleigh attended an information session run by VTEC about different traineeship opportunities. She began a business traineeship but soon discovered it was not for her.

Meeting with her VTEC Maxima (now Tapa) mentor Ashleigh in May of 2018, Carleigh expressed the desire to get into nursing so they looked at different options.

Ashleigh helped Carleigh get a part-time Administration Assistant position at the Queen Elizabeth and Royal Adelaide Hospitals.

Every day she answered phones, booked appointments and set up clinical visits for patients. In the process, Carleigh said she learned how to be a caring person and believed this would help in her nursing career.

Carleigh also enrolled in an Advanced Diploma of Nursing course.

Carleigh’s administration assistant contract with the hospitals ended in February this year but with the support of a Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship and ABSTUDY, she is now studying full-time.

‘My course is different to university as we are all one group and we stay together for the whole diploma. There is a lot of support and I feel like with the completion of this course I would be in a better state to commence a Bachelor of Nursing, which is my next goal.’

Continued support from Tapa Warpulayi-itya, beyond the funded 26 weeks, was critical to Carleigh’s ongoing progress towards her long-term employment goal.

And now, Carleigh is settled and on the path to the career of her choosing.

‘Before I met Ashleigh I wasn’t confident in my career goals as I didn’t think they were achievable,’ Carleigh said.

‘Now though, I can see that I am more independent and have a vision of what my life will look like.’

Ashleigh has also seen the change in Carleigh.

‘Since working together and discussing her goals and encouraging her to follow them I have watched her become a successful 21 year old with a 10 year plan that, with her determination and attitude, will come to fruition,’ Ashleigh said.

And what is that plan?

‘My plan is to complete my Diploma, work within the nursing industry whilst completing my Registered Nursing through university,’ Carleigh said.

‘I would then like to be living in Alice Springs and doing my midwifery. My 10 year plan is to be working within Community as a practicing midwife.’

Find out more

The National Indigenous Australians Agency supports VTECs through the Jobs, Land and Economy program.

Tapa works closely with employers and Indigenous communities to identify jobs and establish tailored training to meet the needs of the employer. They provide specialist recruitment services that ensure the participant is ready, trained and able to commence employment.

Maxima VTEC was renamed Tapa Warpulayi-itya when it became a partly owned Aboriginal Organisation in April 2019.

The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme, funded through the Department of Health, supports Indigenous Australians to undertake tertiary studies to enter the health workforce.

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