I’m Wiggy and I work for the Department of Human Services in Townsville.
I was a part of the Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme (IAP) 2015 intake and now I’m a member of the Indigenous Services team at Child Support with 3 other Indigenous apprentices.
My cousin did an Entry Level Program with Centrelink in Cairns a couple of years ago so when my partner saw it advertised on Facebook she told me about it and I applied. I didn’t think I’d ever work an office job - before the IAP I was working as a bartender and a waiter. Having a young daughter meant working late nights and weekends which wasn’t great, so I’m really happy to work regular hours now.
I am part of a great team with a good team leader who supported me throughout the programme. During the IAP I completed a Certificate IV in Government (Service Delivery). My team leader made sure we had time to get things done when we had assessments which helped with my studies. And the lecturers at the Canberra Institute of Technology were also really good and flexible with us all.
My job means I talk to Indigenous Australians all around Australia and I love it! When I first started I was a bit nervous, but when I found out I was talking to Indigenous customers I relaxed. I think it’s great that departments in the Australian Public Service are employing more Indigenous staff because it makes it easier for Indigenous customers to communicate with us. If I’m talking to a Torres Strait Islander customer I can chat to them in Creole which makes it easier to get information across.
I feel really supported by the department—I have a buddy in my team, I’m part of the National Indigenous Employees Network and I stay in touch with all the other Queensland Indigenous apprentices I met during the programme. Looking forward, I want to become a mentor and a facilitator for the Indigenous Cultural Awareness training (ICAT). My buddy Donny is an ICAT facilitator and has encouraged me to take the course.
I’d recommend the IAP to everyone. When they opened applications for the last intake I sent it out to all my cousins, my sisters and everyone I know! I think you should apply for the IAP if you want job security and a good career that can set your family up.