My name is Lazariah Nona, I am originally from Badu Island, Torres Strait. After successfully graduating high school in 2005 I moved back to my hometown to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I always had a passion to give back to my people and community, so I knew working within an Indigenous sector is where I wanted to start my career off and eventually branch out further from.
I landed my first job as a teacher’s aide at Tagai State College Badhulgaw Ngurpai Lag (Badu Island Primary Campus) six months after completing high school. This is where I learnt the many barriers facing Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people especially in education. My role as a teacher aide was both difficult and rewarding at the same time. I became the vital link between the new non-indigenous teachers and the indigenous children especially with the language and cultural barriers.
A year passed I was given the opportunity to further my skills and career prospects by becoming the successful applicant to a business administration/reception role that was on offer at the campus. I was also given the opportunity to live and work on Thursday Island at Tagai State College Business Unit. This is where I found I excelled and enjoyed working in – the business sector. Even though, I had a promising career ahead of me, I was unfortunately getting caught up in the “cycle” of living in a small community and got mixed with the wrong crowd.
In 2013, I made the bold decision to relocate to Cairns to study further and gain qualifications to match my working experience.
I had heard about IYMP through a fellow IYMP applicant and realised it would be a great opportunity not to pass. I was successfully accepted into IYMP and was quickly helped in enrolling at JCU to complete a UNI pathway program as well as completing a course through Tafe.
In 2014, I was fortunate to gain an Indigenous Identified Trainee Position at Apunipima Cape York Health Council, in which I successfully completed my Certificate 3 in Business Administration and secured a permanent full-time position within the organisation. After completion of my business course, I have jumped onto the opportunity given to me by IYMP to complete a Diploma of Community Service online as it will not affect my work.
Within my study and work life, IYMP had given me tremendous support and mentoring to grow into my full potential. I now live with my partner in our own apartment but continue to maintain a close connection with staff at IYMP. I give credit to IYMP for teaching me the vital life skills such as budgeting, maintaining a household, cooking and eventually being a matured young Indigenous woman with a big future ahead of her. I also thank IYMP for supporting me financially by paying my driving lessons with a driving school.
Thanks to the support of my workplace, the IYMP staff and family, I now realise my life’s goal. To become a business manager to help set up systems and processes to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people in which ever sector I work in.