CQUniversity’s Diploma of Community Services course has not only opened Ilona Daniel’s eyes to a new career in a new country, but it has also helped her follow her heartfelt desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
Originally from the township of Alexandra in South Africa, Ilona is now living with her husband in the Childers area, working full-time with Southern Cross Support Services (SCSS).
“I come from a family of seven children, my older brother died when he was young. After high school, I worked in various jobs, I studied office administration and worked in administration, right until I came to Australia,” she said.
“When I arrived in Australia, I got involved in the community services sector and through learning and working, I completed my individual support qualification in disability and I am still learning.
“As a migrant I faced the challenges most migrants do in a new country, but I was able to overcome them through my close relationship with my husband and my family back in South Africa.”
Ilona said she always wanted to work in the Community Services industry.
“I enjoy supporting people because I recognise that everyone needs support one way or another in their lives,” she said.
“It may not necessarily be physical support we need at times, but as humans we all need each other.”
Ilona undertook work placement with SCSS during her studies and it wasn’t long before she was offered employment at the facility.
“I enjoy working at SCSS because it values diversity and its ethos is respectful of different cultures,” she said.
“I was made to feel part of the team from the first day of my placement, which was a relief. The management team is approachable and willing to listen and offer guidance when needed, which is very comforting, especially as a student, as we need approachable mentors in workplaces.”
SCSS General Manager People & Safety Jeremy Clay said Ilona’s ability to communicate with staff and clients and her passion for helping others landed her the offer of employment with the organisation.
“Ilona is a fantastic communicator which made it easy to match her with the right clients; and the placement itself provided an opportunity to build a good foundation of trust,” Mr Clay said.
“We are very keen to support Ilona in her career and are exceptionally pleased to have secured her for one of our Support Worker roles.”
Ilona said anyone considering a career in community services would find it very rewarding.
“I find it a rewarding but very challenging industry to work in – if you want to make a positive impact on somebody's life, then go for it. It is very fulfilling and rewarding for clients as well as support staff.”
She thanked her CQUni teachers for their continued support through her community services training and employment.
“I want to thank my fabulous teachers at CQUni for their great support, especially Loretta Williams who is always professional but supportive to their students,” she said.
“My journey has been trying but successful and I wouldn't have made it without the love of my family and the supportive close friends I made in the community.
“Thank you to everyone who has helped me with my journey so far.”
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