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Cadetship gives Elaina’s career a ‘valuable kickstart’


A program supported by the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) NSW and the state government has led to a full-time job for a Newcastle social housing tenant.

Elaina Byrne just completed her 12-month cadetship at Home in Place (formerly Compass Housing).

And, she’s the first cadet at the Hunter-based community housing provider to finish under the new initiative.

A second cadet is on maternity leave and a third started her cadetship in March.

Ms Byrne began work this month as a full-time customer services officer with Home in Place after successfully applying for a vacant position.

As part of the cadetship, she also completed a Certificate IV in Social Housing.

She said the process had given her career a “valuable kickstart”.

“Even before knowing about the cadetship, I knew I wanted to be involved in helping people with their housing,” Ms Byrne explained.

“I definitely want a career within the social housing industry.”

As someone who currently lives in social housing, Ms Byrne understands its value and importance.

The 34-year-old was forced out of the private rental market when she escaped domestic violence five years ago – a common issue for many women.

Domestic violence organisation Jenny’s Place provided support and transitional housing before she secured a social housing property to call home.

“Housing is fundamental to peoples’ success in other areas of their life,” Ms Byrne said.

“Having a stable roof over my head allowed me to feel safe and to focus on getting new skills and work.

“My message to other women trapped in violent relationships is that you can get out and rebuild your life.”

During her cadetship, Ms Byrne worked in Home in Place’s tenancy relations and assets teams.

She said her colleagues were generous with their time, expertise and knowledge.

“They answered my many questions and helped me get the practical skills and experience I needed to complete my Certificate IV assessments,” Ms Byrne said.

The earn and learn-focussed cadetship program concentrated on unemployed youth and adults who are social housing clients.

It was funded by the NSW Government’s NSW Land and Housing Corporation. 

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