Noela graduates in a proud family moment

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Noela Heron is a mother and a grandmother, and having her family members at a recent graduation was one of the proudest moments of her life. She is the first member of her family to complete a tertiary level qualification.

Noela is a Senior Aboriginal Community Worker with Territory Families Housing and Communities (TFHC) in the Care and Connection team and since commencing she has completed both a Diploma in Child Youth and Family Intervention, and recently the Graduate Certificate in Safe Communities.

“Completing the diploma and the postgraduate degree has given me the opportunity to expand and extend on my knowledge and skills so that I can use these in my role to further influence change for the children that we currently have in care,” Noela said.

“As a TFHC employee it affords me the opportunity to be able to shift and move from the administration stream into the professional stream. This will open up lots of career opportunities for me that without completing the study would not have been available to me.

“Under TFHC’s initiative to support the career development of Aboriginal staff I have been really well supported to complete my studies while working fulltime.”

Although it was challenging at times with work obligations and study deadlines, Noela was able to negotiate support where required and the flexibility of studying online enabled her to work at her own pace and fit in the study where she could.

“Personally it’s been a great opportunity as a mother and grandmother to be able to lead the way for tertiary education within my own family,” Noela said.

“Having my daughter and granddaughter at my graduation was one of the proudest moments for us as a family. I know that I will have opened the door for them to see that not only is a tertiary qualification attainable, but provides opportunities to grow in self-confidence, expand on knowledge and skills, and to influence some real change.”

TFHC has funded a Learning Pathways Program since 2012. This pathway is a significant investment towards growing and retaining its workforce, providing career pathways aligned to nationally recognised qualifications, as well as providing professional stream employees with postgraduate opportunities to develop and strengthen their practice.

The qualifications undertaken by staff enhance their knowledge and skills to respond to the needs of children and young people affected by harm, trauma and domestic violence. The accredited training delivered by CDU has been contextualised to the workplace, drawing on the TFHC frameworks of Signs of Safety, Signs of Success, Safe and Together and the Aboriginal Cultural Security Framework.

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