Beaming smiles reflect on opportunity to build sparkling futures at Westmead Hospital

Exciting future … Jamie Hunter, Lea Streeting and Christina Scopel chat with WSLHD Aboriginal Health Strategy director Braiden Abala.

They entered the room proudly wearing their NSW Health uniforms. The shy faces turned to reveal their bright eyes and cheeky smiles.

There was a quiet happiness. An inner drive. And playful laughter soon turned to talk about their new jobs at Westmead Hospital.

Graduates of a five-week Workforce program, the three ladies reflected on securing their positions as they approached the end of their first working week in the role.

Jamie Hunter, Lea Streeting and Christina Scopel were also glowing of the program to improve Aboriginal and migrant employment in western Sydney.

A partnership between the Westmead Redevelopment, Western Sydney Local Health District and Multiplex’s Connectivity Centre, the program also ensures greater diversity in our staff base.

Here’s what the new roles mean to our newest cleaning staff members.

Jamie Hunter:

“This job has given me a new perspective on life.

“As much as I love my kids, I get to come to work and do something that’s just for me.

“It feels really good now. I panicked about the interview. There was over three hundred people that applied.”

Lea Streeting:

“I didn’t believe it when I got the call. I thought they got it wrong.

“I’m employed! It’s exciting. All the training and work has gone towards something.

“I’m looking for longevity. I’m interested in eventually furthering my career as an Aboriginal health practitioner.”

“I liked the process we went through to get here. We did the five-week program, worked closely together, applied for the job and bam! Here we are.

“This is a place where you can grow. A place to start small and grow.”

Christina Scopel:

“I don’t see this as a small role. We’re a team and everyone has a part to play in keeping patients safe and healthy.

“I’m committed to doing everything professionally to the highest standard.

“It feels good to use the skills I’ve learned and apply them in my job.”

Western Sydney Local Health District Aboriginal Health Strategy director Braiden Abala has been actively involved in the program from the outset.

“The positive change in self-esteem and confidence is visible and tangible,” Braiden said.

“Parramatta and its surrounds has the biggest Aboriginal community in NSW so we need to do better at getting our mob into employment.

“We’re working with TafeNSW on a number of training programs for our Aboriginal staff. We want to keep supporting them in furthering their careers in health.”

Westmead Redevelopment Workforce manager Julia Shaw said it was inspirational to be involved in something that challenges the normal process of recruitment and attracting staff.

“I’ve been with the graduates through their journey and seeing them grow makes me feel really excited for them,” Julia said.

“I’m also excited for these programs that provide new opportunities to do things differently.”

The vocational Workforce program teaches participants about applying for jobs in NSW Health, the recruitment process, infection prevention and control, privacy and security requirements, and how to effectively clean.

A key point of difference of the program was participants were able to use the prototype rooms for training and skill development. They had the opportunity to practice and enhance their skills in the future hospital spaces in the Central Acute Services Building.

This initiative is part of the Westmead Redevelopment Aboriginal Legacy Strategy and supports the objective to enhance education and employment opportunities.

For more information about Aboriginal employment opportunities in the district, please click here.