For Newcastle’s Emma Hickey, the chance to be a role model for the Indigenous community is what drives her to do more.
The proud Woopaburra woman hopes to inspire others after being given a life-changing career opportunity thanks to a training program between TAFE NSW and the Public Service Commission.
Emma will graduate with a Diploma of Leadership and Management this month and says finishing the course is one of her best achievements.
“For me it was extremely empowering, it was a remarkable time because it developed my leadership skills and opened up so many opportunities for me,” she says.
The program allowed 14 Aboriginal Public Sector employees to study a nationally-recognised qualification, giving them the chance to gain full-time employment.
“It was really inspiring to work with more Aboriginal students who are looking forward to being leaders in the public service,” she says.
“My culture is a huge part of my identity and [knowing] I could be a role model for other Aboriginal students was really important.
“It’s important for Aboriginal people to take on larger qualifications and reach for the sky when it comes to their careers because we are the role models for the next generation and we [need] empower each other.”
Emma is now employed full-time with the NSW Public Service as a Business Support Officer and wants to use her qualification to work on similar up-skilling programs with the Indigenous community.
“I think it’s so important that organisations like the Public Service Commission and TAFE NSW empower Aboriginal people to gain a qualification and give them lifelong skills they can take with them into any workplace,” she says.
“I think every day we see more Aboriginal people out there empowering other people in the community, and what keeps us going is watching everyone else reach these milestones and believing it is possible for ourselves.”
Her course was customised for the Public Service Commission and combined on-the-job training with formal study to give her the skills and experience she needed for the role.
Public Service Commission Aboriginal Workforce Development Principal Advisor, Kelly Stanford, says the service is committed to growing and developing its Aboriginal workforce.
“Emma will be a wonderful asset and addition to the NSW Public Service Aboriginal talent pipeline,” she says.