Meet Simone: Our Finalist for the Community Education Student of the Year Awards 2023

Meet Simone: Our Finalist for the Community Education Student of the Year Awards 2023

13 December, 2023

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The Community Education Student of the Year Awards celebrate the achievements of Australia’s adult and community education students, based on career and study; communication, team and leadership skills; community and other activities. 

We are thrilled to share the achievements of Simone who was chosen as a Community Education Student of the Year finalist! 

Since 2022 Macquarie Community College has been an active member of the 2770 working group run by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations under the Sydney Greater West Local Jobs Program. The 2770 working group (Mount Druitt and surrounding suburbs) is one of the focus groups of the program, aiming to find solutions to barriers to work and study for 2770 residents. Through the working group collaboration, BaptistCare Hope St joined forces with the College to design a pathway program for interested clients wanting to leave behind their past and current trauma-based lives and work in the aged/disability sector. 

Among the inspiring stories to emerge from this collaboration is that of the brave Simone, a woman who transformed her life against the odds. 

Simone's life had been marred by abuse and violence since her early teens. For years she found herself in an environment of assault, struggling to break free. The cycle of violence not only stole her self-worth and sense of security but also deprived her of essential education, a key to breaking free. 

When an opportunity emerged to escape these circumstances and reshape her life, Simone seized it. In October 2022, she joined the "Employment Pathways to Aged and Disability Care and Community Services" program, a tailor-made initiative by the College and BaptistCare Hope St. 

This two-month program provided Simone with a safe space to learn with the support of College trainers and staff whilst she continued to receive wrap around services from BaptistCare Hope St. The course equipped her with industry-related skills and foundational knowledge, whilst providing a pathway towards the full Certificate III in Individual Support. 

In December 2022, Simone completed the pathways course, marking a significant milestone in her journey. Whilst facing ongoing domestic violence, she returned in March 2023 to pursue the Certificate III in Individual Support at the College’s Mount Druitt campus.  

The road was challenging and there were periods where it crossed Simone’s mind to give up, but her determination prevailed. In May 2023, Simone made the courageous decision to break free from her domestic situation to focus on her studies to build brighter future for herself and her kids.  

Undeterred by the hardships, she commenced her course work placement and received her Certificate III in Individual Support. 

Simone's inspiring journey didn't stop there. With support from her dedicated trainer, Laila Kaawi, Simone not only demonstrated academic prowess but also secured an interview with a local home & residential care provider. We are incredibly proud to confirm that Simone was offered a position and has embarked on a new milestone. 

Simone's story is one of resilience, bravery and the power of education to break the chains of adversity. As she steps into a role where she can make a difference in the lives of others, Simone looks forward to a future free from violence, filled with learning and dedicated to helping those in need. 

Simone says, "I am proud of how far I have come, and I am so much happier since being violence-free and looking forward to studying more and working in the aged care and disability industry. I want to help people. I am hoping that I can help and inspire other people by reading my story." 

Simone's trainer, Laila, aptly acknowledges her student's remarkable journey, stating, "Simone's story deserves recognition due to her persistent determination in the face of adversity. Despite facing obstacles, she demonstrated admirable resilience, thus exemplifying her unwavering dedication to self-improvement and progress, with assistance from both me and the Macquarie Community College staff." 

Simone’s journey symbolises the transformative power of education, demonstrating that an unwavering spirit can overcome even the darkest of circumstances. Join us in celebrating Simone's success and looks forward to witnessing the positive impact she will undoubtedly make in her new role and beyond. 

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