“I was determined”: Aboriginal recruits spread their wings at Westmead Hospital

Cleaner Codie Fuller, porter Darrin Smith and cleaner Jade Hookey are among 15 new Aboriginal staff to join the general services team at Westmead Hospital.

At 42, Leah Hampton is enjoying her first job alongside her teenage daughter thanks to a partnership between Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES).

Leah and her daughter Jade Hookey, 17, are among 15 new recruits to the Corporate Services team at Westmead Hospital who were offered roles after completing an intensive four-week training course earlier this year.

The new recruits are entering cleaning and porter roles after being trained in essential skills including infection control and manual handling.

The new recruits were all hired following a four-week training course provided by Aboriginal Employment Strategy and WSLHD this year.

For mother-of-six Leah, the cleaning job means freedom to pursue her goals and flexibility with caring for her family.

“As soon as I found out about this opportunity, I headed straight there. I was determined,” she said.

“I love it. I’m getting the hours I need for picking up my youngest from day care, and I have weekends off for getting the kids to sport.”

It’s a first job for Leah’s daughter Jade as well, who is saving up for a car in the hope of becoming a mechanic one day.

Leah Hampton is proud to work her first job alongside her daughter Jade Hookey.

“School wasn’t my thing so I decided to start working and I love this,” Jade said.

“The training was great and I feel very comfortable in the job. I love chatting to the patients. Many of them on my ward are older people who just want someone to talk to and I like hearing their stories.”

Riverstone man Darrin Smith landed a job as an orderly and said it fits well with his previous experience in customer service.

“I picked it up quickly and I’m getting good shifts and overtime now. I get along well with the bosses, the team, and definitely with the patients. We have a yarn and I make sure they get around safely.

“I’m working in the operating theatres now and it’s always busy. I wake up every morning looking forward to work and meeting new people,” Darrin said.

Codie Fuller, 24, said the job gives her motivation every day. “The training was really good and the managers are so supportive. They make sure we understand everything.”

WSLHD Aboriginal Health Strategy director Braiden Abala said the successful partnership with AES is one way the District is improving employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“We’re aiming to have a workforce that reflects our community, which means raising the employment of Aboriginal people to 2.6 per cent of our staff, and making sure we are a welcoming and inclusive employer.

“I’m excited to welcome these recruits and wish them all the best in their new roles. I also want to see increased representation of Aboriginal people across other roles including our medical, nursing and allied health fields,” Braiden said.