“We all need to come together and help each other”

Taylah Abraham never envisaged herself working in Australia’s largest and fastest growing industry sector, Healthcare and Social Assistance. Just three years ago, Taylah moved from New South Wales to Melbourne and started working at Coles in Springvale. Taylah applied to an advertisement for a business administration traineeship on Seek. When she went to the interview, Taylah was surprised to find out that the traineeship was in community services as part of the Community Traineeship Pilot Project being led by VCOSS.

Taylah got the traineeship and began working at TaskForce Community Agency and soon after commenced formal training undertaking a Certificate IV in Community Services at RMIT.

The early days of the program were challenging. Taylah recalls that “the first week was a bit touchy. I was working in alcohol and other drugs. On my first day, someone came in for the needle syringe program; that was my first big overwhelming moment.”

But with help and guidance from her supervisor, Taylah’s knowledge, understanding and confidence has grown. Indicating just how transformative the traineeship has been, Taylah told FSSI:

“The traineeship has changed so many of my biases and views I’ve had growing up, so I’m forever grateful for that.”

Since Covid-19, all forms of education have had to be refined to comply with physical distancing measures. Taylah spoke about how her experience of education has changed in the past couple of months.

“When everything went online, I was unsure if I was going to be able to keep up and if it was going to work out as I prefer face to face interaction learning. I spoke to my supervisor and teachers about my uncertainties and they have helped me out with overcoming my difficulties. I’m grateful that I’ve got lots of support around me. After the initial month of being online, there was more engagement, we have been able to use all different aspects of Canvas (RMIT’s online learning system) and utilise all the tools and everything’s on the platform. Our course finishes about mid-July and we’ve been able to adapt.”

In addition to her traineeship, Taylah is also a member of the Youth Action Research Group (YARG) for the Community Traineeships Pilot Project which provides critical feedback to help improve the traineeship program. Her involvement in the YARG has helped to further hone her skills.

As Taylah points out, “the biggest skill you need to engage in the YARG is teamwork. The whole thing about the YARG is that we all come together, we all have different ideas and we work out a solution to different problems. You need to be able to rely on each other as a team and be able to problem solve. If there is a time when your opinion is different or you don’t agree with something, you still need to be open minded and be able to listen to everyone’s opinion and keep the biases away. Problem solving skills, teamwork and trust are all needed.”

Taylah’s unswerving determination to help others has been key to keeping her on track with her work and studies in 2020. Taylah has some practical and helpful advice for young people thinking about embarking on a traineeship in the community services sector and for others juggling work and study:

  • Get up at the same time that you usually would;
  • Always change out of your pyjamas and get ready for the day; and
  • if possible, get a video call in with your supervisor at the same time every morning.

She also encourages people to seek out support when needed. “Keep that determination and keep being engaged. If you are worried about anything, always go for support especially in the current environment, if you ever feel under pressure, you should always get that support when you need to.”

In challenging times such as these, it is easy to become overwhelmed and disheartened and lose sight of the big picture. However, Taylah Abraham reminds us through both her actions and her words:

“We all need to come together and help each other out because at the end of the day, the support is the main thing”.