10 November 2023

Local teens get a head start in their careers in health

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Zipporah McClelland, Kamola Komilova and Darnee Doherty.

Assistant in nursing trainee Zipporah McClelland, school-based trainee Kamola Komilova and Wagga Wagga High School student Darnee Doherty. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

More than 30 Riverina high school students are set to embark on their healthcare careers through a school-based traineeship with Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD).

As a part of the program, the Year 10 students will go on to complete a qualification in nursing, allied health or health administration.

The program can be included as one subject for their High School Certificate and contribute to an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank.

MLHD education and trainee support officer Laura Strano said the program offered students a supported pathway from school to work and further study options.

“Our school-based traineeship program aims to help grow the rural health workforce, with a ‘grow your own’ model at the heart of its inception,” Ms Strano said.

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“The program focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student engagement and employment in health careers, with a holistic and supportive approach to completing the program and beyond.

“The program provides students with income while they are studying. Over the two-year traineeship, they complete a minimum of 100 days of paid, on-the-job training in their chosen area, one day a week during school term and the rest during the school holidays.”

Wagga Wagga High School student Darnee Doherty says she knows plenty of nurses around her and has always heard “good things” about the profession.

“I was a late submission, but I’m glad I decided to get the application in on time,” Darnee said. “I’ve been given a great opportunity.”

Students learning CPR

Students learn about CPR at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

“Not many of my friends are doing anything else like this, but they all support me and have my back.

“I’m hoping for a healthcare career. I’m excited for it. I want to jump right in and get started and working already.”

Darnee is set to start her midwifery training and hopes to stay in the region for her work.

“I wouldn’t want to go too far away. If I can stay, that will be good,” Darnee said.

Albury Health Services assistant in nursing trainee Zipporah McClelland says nursing has been in her family for generations, with her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great aunt having had experience in the field.

 Nick Praestiin

MLHD clinical skills coordinator Nick Praestiin teaches the students about CPR. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

“It’s in the family line, and I want to make them proud,” Zipporah said.

“This is a great opportunity to get into the health area. I want to get into pediatrics.

“Being able to secure employment at the end of my traineeship is important, as well as having that stability.”

School-based trainee Kamola Komilova started the traineeship program in 2021 as an allied health assistant.

“I’ve always wanted to get into healthcare, and this was the perfect opportunity to step my foot in healthcare and start my journey,” Kamola said.

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“I’ve done rotations in dietetics, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and medical radiation through my traineeship.

“My biggest takeaway [from the program] would be getting out of your comfort zone and being the person to speak out when needed.”

Coming from a non-English speaking background, Kamola didn’t have sufficient communication skills to speak with her peers and teachers when she moved to Australia.

“Through the trainsheep, I’ve started communicating and expressing my feelings better,” Kamola said.

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