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Rhian’s story

Rhian, 20

“For 16 years, I was so comfortable living in a small city in Wales, I was doing well in school, had a large circle of friends and family, and spent every spare moment I had partaking in my drama school that I adored. I loved life, and even though I was extremely young I would always ponder “What next?!”. Flashforward three years, and here I am in Australia. Leaving the UK, I was so optimistic about my future in Australia- probably too optimistic. I thought it would be an easy ride, but it was anything but easy. As a fluent Welsh speaker, I struggled joining the education system in Australia, even though I did well in school in the UK, everything seemed so different. I missed my family and friends, I missed walking down the street and bumping into someone I knew, I just missed the feeling of familiarity. Mid way through year 12 I was diagnosed with a brain condition, which knocked me and my family sideways. Adjusting to life with a condition no one can see is hard, people assume everything is fine and don’t understand the severity of the condition. Nevertheless, I completed my VCE achieving an ATAR I was extremely proud of, worked evenings in a restaurant and made lifelong friends. Australia began to feel more like home every day. In 2018, I started working as a barista in a small café, the novelty began to wear off very quickly and I became stuck in a rut. I knew hospitality wasn’t the future career I wanted, but I had no idea where to go or what to do. Fortunately, I was presented with this traineeship and I knew it was an opportunity I had to go for. I met with Robbie Hendry, who supports every participant on the program and goes above and beyond to ensure we are safe, happy and thriving in both our work placement and university.

Next thing I knew, I had enrolled, signed my contract and was beginning my placement. I started my placement in Star Health on May 9th 2019, and I truly believe I struck gold. I was welcomed into Star Health with arms wide open, I was trained and working as a member of the ‘Service Access and Support’ team in no time. My coordinators Josh and Tristan have helped me grow both professionally and personally, and I have made friendships and memories that I will forever treasure.

I work at Star Health from Monday to Thursday, and attend RMIT University on a Friday. Joining this traineeship, I was most worried about the educational side, but once I meet my teachers Dora, Jamie and Tina, I knew I had nothing to worry about. All three teachers go the extra mile to guarantee students are fully equipped to face whatever is thrown at them in the work place, as well as being able to successfully complete the assignments with ease. During my very first meeting with Star Health, my coordinator Josh told me entering this program will be like receiving a warm hug of support, and I couldn’t sum up this experience any better.”

Through the Community Traineeships Pilot Program, 18 young people have been placed so far, with 15 of these leading to ongoing employment. Learn more about the program here.

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