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Foundation Skills the turning point in Violeta’s career

By Fiona West | February 15, 2023
Violeta received a Director of Corporate Services Award for going ‘above and beyond’ in her work.

When Violeta Aleksoska came to Australia from Macedonia in the year 2000 she didn’t care what type of job she got, as long as she was working. In fact, her self-confidence was so low she didn’t even allow herself to think about ever having a dream job.

But after almost 20 years working as a cleaner, Violeta, 44, has recently started doing administrative work, which she absolutely loves. She says: “I am not stopping now – I want to apply for higher roles and do something with my life”.

Violeta says her turning point was undertaking two Foundation Skills For Your Future (FSFYF) programs at Navitas Skilled Futures in 2021, offered as professional development training with her employer, Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, where she has worked as a cleaner for 10 years.

The first FSFYF program, designed for hospital staff from diverse backgrounds across various positions, focused on improving language, literacy and numeracy skills, to give staff greater confidence speaking with management, other staff and patients. The second program on digital literacy, is where Violeta thrived. It has inspired her to apply for a role in General Services, where she currently assists, and she is doing so well that she recently received a Director of Corporate Services Award.

Violeta says: “When I came to Australia I knew English, but at home and work I was with other Macedonian people, and when I spoke English I was not confident and felt people will laugh at me so I didn’t get better English. But everything changed on my first day of class with [FSFYF trainer] Nahreen. She made me comfortable straight away and it was like going to coffee with a friend I’d known for years.

“I let everything go and from that time on I didn’t worry – I speak new words and try to learn everything and not worry if I make a mistake.”

By the time Violeta did the second FSFYF course she was confident to step outside her comfort zone.

“I thought that I knew the computer because I have a son and I knew PlayStation and computers for school to help my son, but Excel, Microsoft, this and that, no, I don’t know anything about computers. But after lessons with Nahreen, now I use everything!”

Violeta underwent back surgery last year but that didn’t stop her doing the second FSFYF course, as the trainer allowed her to stand and sit as she needed to. Violeta was unable to continue cleaning but has been assisting in General Services doing tasks such as writing reports and emails, working with Microsoft applications, updating rosters and the database, and doing audits on Excel.

Violeta is recovering from back surgery but is keen to apply for a General Services position.

She was thrilled to receive the Director of Corporate Services Award at the end of last year, in which she was praised for “continually striving for improvement, showing great initiative and going above and beyond in any role she undertakes”.

“[Violeta] has undertaken courses to improve upon her skills and has been the first person to put her hand up for other opportunities to grow,” the director said.

Violeta says she was was so “surprised and happy” by the award.

“All my life I have been working very hard and I feel like no one sees that, so to be recognised for my work and receive this award I was very very happy,”

“Having confidence was the most important thing. Even after the first graduation we have in the hospital (for FSFYF) I said this was like a turning point in my life. Now I think that I can do something else in my life. Before I think, ‘OK, I’ve come to Australia, I just want to work hard to make something and look after the family’. But now my son has grown up and he goes out work, and I have time to learn something and can do something with my life.”

Violeta said she used to have anxiety about job interviews but now she can’t wait to apply for a permanent position in general services when she has fully recovered from back surgery and an opportunity becomes available.

“’I’m not stopping. I can’t wait to be applying for the job at the hospital and going for the interview. And now I am even helping my friends apply for jobs. My family are so proud of me, but most proud is my husband.”

Funded by the Australian Government, the Foundation Skills For Your Future Program is a nationwide program for individuals and employers who want to help improve the skills of their workers and, in turn, boost workplace productivity and staff retention and satisfaction.

For more information see: Navitas Skilled Futures.

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