WORK at a Warrnambool law firm inspired Hillary Lafferty into a career change in the community services sector.
“I was working in administration and accounts at Dwyer Robinson when I came into contact with a youth worker. We got chatting and her work sounded so interesting,” she said.
Hillary said the Diploma of Community Services course at South West TAFE was recommended by a friend and she hasn’t looked back since.
While she was studying she gained employment at The Foyer, an integrated learning and accommodation setting for young people who are at risk of homelessness.
This work involved helping to run activities for the young people to help them build up their skills to get them ready to move out on their own.
Hillary said she was then successful in gaining a Brophy scholarship which is awarded to TAFE students.
“I worked in the youth support team there and spent two months on placement while studying and from there I gained a full-time job at Brophy,” she said.
Hillary now works in Brophy’s youth homelessness team where she visits young people and helps them with food and housing.
“I love what I do. I work in an incredibly positive environment and it’s great when you can help boost the confidence in a young person,” she said.
Hillary loves working in the industry so much that she has just started a Bachelor of Social Work at Deakin University and was awarded a Deakin University Pathways Award at South West TAFE’s Graduation and Awards ceremony in March.
“I got so much extra confidence from my studies at TAFE. My time at TAFE made me realise I was on the right track for further studies and life,” she said.
Next year Hillary is hoping to combine her two passions and has applied for an Equine Assisted Therapy course.
“My long-term goal is to open my own equine assisted therapy business but right now I’m just loving what I do and learning as much as I can,” she said.