Waminda gets the South Coast working

Waminda trainees Carley Jones (left), Emma Ardler and Emma Ashby with program and client service manager Lisa Wellington and CEO Fay Worner going over the day to day running of the corporation.

Waminda trainees Carley Jones (left), Emma Ardler and Emma Ashby with program and client service manager Lisa Wellington and CEO Fay Worner going over the day to day running of the corporation.

FROM humble beginnings with six staff seven years ago, Waminda the South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation, now employs 56 women.

Many former employees and clients are now working in the wider community.

But just what does Waminda, which celebrates its 30th anniversary of service to the community, do?

Chief executive officer Faye Worner said the corporation, which has a number of service centres throughout the area, is a one-stop centre for Aboriginal women and their families to access a variety of programs and support networks.

“We provide a number of services aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle for Aboriginal women of all ages through varied health programs and services,” Ms Worner said.

“We do case management for a wide variety of programs, including drug and alcohol support, sexual assault support, family support, domestic violence, a mums and bubs program and various other health clinics and programs.

“We offer a whole range of services but also opportunities through employment programs.”

Working closely with a number of job agencies, including Habitat Personnel, one of its programs aims to find employment for its clients,

Waminda practice manager Nikki Wellington with trainee Kristika Kumar-Jones, who co-ordinates the chronic care and support services program.

Waminda practice manager Nikki Wellington with trainee Kristika Kumar-Jones, who co-ordinates the chronic care and support services program.

“Rather than just advertising a job, we call for expressions of interest to undertake an employment workshop, where we can assess what skills applicants do or don’t have,” Ms Worner said

“We have had up to 30 women at a time attend the workshop.

“We have a deliberate supported employment strategy and hope by providing our applicants with all the necessary skills they can go on to find meaningful jobs.

“Some of our applicants have confidence issues, or numeracy and literacy problems. For others, it could be as simple as transport issues.

“We take into account all these factors and come up with strategies to allow them to best combat their issues.

“Many women who got a start here have gone on to other employment in the area.

“Gaining an opportunity of work is a great investment in the area – offering people employment often means they can support their families, maintaining their living arrangements or possibly even look at buying their own home.

“Our staff also undergoes intensive training, which is a vital investment we get it back 10-fold.

“The women are doing genuine jobs that often lead to careers – they may start in reception just to get the feel of how the corporation operates and then progress to different areas in health and case work.

“We employ different people from all works of life.”

Traineeships offer great opportunities

FOUR young women currently undertaking traineeships within Waminda believe they are being provided with a great grounding for further employment opportunities.

Kristika Kumar-Williams started at the organisation two and a half years ago on a casual basis.

The 23-year-old worked in reception and program support and now co-ordinates the chronic care and supplementary services program.

“This is a chance to change your whole life and have a positive impact upon the women and families you work with and for,” she said.

She is completing her certificate four in Aboriginal primary health care (clinical stream).

For 20-year-old Emma Ashby, it is the second time she has worked for the corporation.

“I was here in 2012 for four months and then got a job,” she said.

“I’m doing a traineeship in business, completing my certificate four qualifications.”

As well as manning reception she also works in the clinic.

Carley Jones, 25, started as a volunteer and is undertaking a traineeship in administration, completing her certificate four qualifications in business through Sydney indigenous traineeship company BCA.

Emma Ardler, 21, is a trainee in casework and administration, completing her certificate three in community services.

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