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Award-winning trainee Jahdai has health research at the heart

This article appears in: Community Services and Social Work, TAFE
VET student Jahdai Vigona on Casuarina campus

Jahdai was working as a casual in the Mental Health Team at Menzies School of Health Research. It was here that he had his ‘lightbulb moment’.

Jahdai, a proud Tiwi Islands man, knew he wanted to be in a career that did something positive for First Nations People.

“I developed a passion for giving back to my community and contributing to the social and emotional health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” he says.

The road to success

VET student, NT Training Awards winner Jahdai Vigona on Casuarina campus

Jahdai decided to apply for a traineeship to complete a Certificate III in Community Services.

I realised the career pathways this certificate opened for me. It allowed me to gain a qualification and help me develop and apply my skills to health research.

His dedication as a Menzies trainee didn’t go unnoticed.

"I’ve achieved some exciting accolades throughout my training journey, including being rewarded and recognised as the GTNT 2021 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year and Overall Trainee of the Year."

He was also crowned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the NT Training Awards.

Getting in the study groove

With multiple awards under his belt, it would be easy to assume Jahdai breezed through his training.

Jahdai admits the balancing act of work, traineeship, life and study was proving difficult, and he asked for advice from his supervisors.

“We sat down together and organised a task list that allowed me to see my capacity for study," he says.

"Some days of the week were allocated only for study so that I could focus on my units and not be distracted by any other workplace responsibilities.”

With his study system now a well-oiled machine, Jahdai has continued his learning. He’s working through a Certificate IV in Mental Health and a Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs.


Jahdai’s certificates have given him the option to pursue further studies.

My experience through training at CDU has created a clear pathway into higher education, whether I choose to do a graduate diploma or bachelor’s degree in public health or social work.

Although he's still studying, Jahdai has already been making an impact.

"I’ve been able to be a part of exciting work opportunities and contribute my work to many Indigenous communities—not just in the NT, but across Australia," he says.

At the end of the day, he recommends future students “look into courses that spark your interest” to find a career you’re passionate about.

“All the work you put in will be worth the reward,” he adds. “You’re on the right path!”

You, too, can make a real difference by studying Community Services and Social Work. Explore TAFE courses.

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