Barriers Can Be Broken
Meet Grace – an Indigenous Health Worker from the IWC Medical team who recently completed her health worker qualification six months ahead of schedule.
Grace was inspired to become an Indigenous Health Worker by the strong women in her family that came be
fore her. Her grandmother Dolcie, worked as a Midwife in Cairns, while her Nanna Kay worked as an Indigenous Health Worker for 28 years. Grace describes her Nanna Kay as “an amazing and successful woman”, who did everything she could to keep her patients healthy. It’s no wonder Grace grew up with the understanding that taking care of your health is a priority.
Grace’s journey wasn’t easy – she struggled with literacy and numeracy throughout her schooling, saying “I only really started to scrape through in these areas about grade 11.” Although Grace knew she wanted to work in the health industry, the path was not clear. – She had previously looked into the Health Worker TAFE course, however, upfront costs presented barriers.
As luck would have it, one year after graduating high school, the pharmacy where Grace worked as an Assistant changed ownership,– prompting her to consider her future. Grace saw an ad for an Indigenous Health Worker at IWC and applied, gaining an interview.
Despite Grace feeling the interview went terribly, IWC recognised her potential and passion for the industry. Grace was successful in attaining the role, and IWC assisted Grace to enrol in the Certificate III. She began studying in March 2022, and in a feat of sheer persistence, determination, and dedication, Grace was able to complete her Certificate III in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care in half the time.
Grace commented “I continued to struggle in (numeracy and literacy) for this course as well. The team here at IWC and my teachers at TAFE were supportive and helped me to overcome this. There will always be challenges and barriers to achieving your goals, no matter who you are or what you want to achieve. The thing to remember is to not let those barriers or challenges stop you from chasing your dreams.”
Grace is motivated to inspire others to challenge themselves, “I see it all the time when I talk to students, there are so many reasons to believe that barriers can stop you from achieving your goals. I really try to encourage them to find a way to overcome them – because you can. I am proof of that.”
Grace’s journey is only beginning with her enrolling in further studies to provide her the foundations to make meaningful change in the communities she works in, “working somewhere like the Kimberley or Broome would be amazing. Though I do plan to build some experience, maybe 3 or so years, working as an Indigenous Health Practitioner before I start to study Nursing.”
Grace is an important member of the IWC family, and we are extremely excited to be on this journey with her. “I love waking up and coming to work every morning. I love the team I work with, the management I work under, and how supportive of a work-life balance this organisation is. I love making a difference in people’s lives. I think we can lose sight of the difference we do make sometimes, but seeing the improvement in a patient’s health, and being able to link them in with other IWC services that improve their overall wellbeing, that’s why I love doing what I do.”
Grace is motivated by a higher cause and reflects IWC’s passion and values in her work – “I want grandparents to be able to not only see their grandkids but play with them and engage with them, to be around for their mob as long as possible. But I don’t just want to help my mob either, it’s my true passion to give back to the community in some way, for everyone.”