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Finding his vocation: Luke's journey to full-time work

This article appears in: Business and Accounting, TAFE
Luke standing outdoors raising a large Aboriginal flag

Luke has worked in many different jobs after completing his vocational qualifications at high school. From bank teller to youth worker, Luke could be considered the jack of all trades! However, his decision to push himself further has brought him back into the world of study, this time to gain vocational training qualifications in business.

Luke's joined the Aboriginal Employment Pathways Program (AEPP), which helps Indigenous Australians to find employment solutions through culturally appropriate connections. As part of the AEPP, Luke completed a TAFE certificate in business.

After completing his certificate and finishing with the AEPP, he was offered a traineeship in the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics. This traineeship played a big part in his decision to undertake further study, this time choosing a certificate in project management practice.

“My supervisor tasked me with the job of working as a project officer,” Luke says.

There were certain aspects in my new job role that I hadn’t heard of before and didn’t understand. Deciding to complete a certificate in project management allowed me to gain further understanding.

Luke with a group of young children smiling while holding the Aboriginal flag

Balancing work, study and social life

Finding a good work-life balance was something that Luke, like many students, struggled with when returning to study. Working and maintaining a social life, as well as finding enough time to study can be difficult, but Luke learnt how to manage with support from his family.

“I had a lot of help from my younger brothers,” he says. “I was pushed to become more independent as they became more independent, so that I could set a good example.”

Commitment and prioritisation also allowed Luke to excel in his studies.

“Make sure you are ready to commit completely to whatever you are planning to study,” he recommends.

Learn to prioritise your workload and studies. Using a timeline can help you to better plan your workload.

“Communicate regularly with your lecturer so they’re aware of any underlying issues or hold-ups in your studies. Talk to your boss about flexible working hours and how else they can help you to succeed in your studies,” he says.

Even after finishing three TAFE certificates, Luke's study doesn’t stop there. After gaining some hands-on experience working in his current full-time role as a project officer at the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, he plans to continue.

I am planning on further studies, and hope to complete my diploma.

His persistence is paying off. Luke was recognised as runner up for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year Award at the 2020 Northern Territory Training Awards. 

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