Crafting a life in timber
A mature-age apprenticeship in carpentry helped Anthony Di Cristofaro to switch careers.
Meet Australian VET Alumni, Kathy Karimondi
After many years working in IT, Kathy Karimondi wanted a career change. She started her search by volunteering at the Coffs Harbour Neighbourhood Centre teaching computer skills.
Volunteering proved to be a life-changing move, setting off a chain of events which eventually saw her reskilling for a new career.
At the neighbourhood centre Kathy noticed that there wasn’t much available for refugees so she started a refugee support group. Her initiative was noticed and next she was invited to be on the Coffs Harbour Council Multicultural committee.
“I realised then I was passionate about community work and decided to change my career,” says Kathy.
To get qualified for work in the community sector Kathy enrolled in a Diploma of Community Services at TAFE. By the end of the year she had her diploma and had won the 2018 NSW Vocational Student of the Year. She then went on to represent her state at the Australian Training Awards.
“Winning the NSW Vocational Student of the Year was a turning point in my life. It has given me lots of self-confidence,” says Kathy.
Shortly after completing her training Kathy began working for the Northern Settlement Services in two roles. As the multicultural support coordinator she organises social support for people over 65. She also works as the community visitor scheme coordinator, organising volunteers to visit isolated people living at home or in aged care.
Remarkably she still finds time to volunteer at the Northern Women’s Health Centre by providing administrative support.
The rewards of working with the elderly
Listening to Kathy talk about her work you can’t help but be enthused. Kathy gets an enormous amount pleasure from helping others.
“It’s so rewarding to give back to the community - when a client tells you they feel better or they feel happy I feel good,” says Kathy.
Last month she put two elderly women in touch with each other. One was a lively 90-year-old woman who still drives. The other was a 94-year-old who lived around the corner. Now they talk on the phone daily and visit each other every week.
“You can’t imagine how happy they are - they had the biggest smiles on their faces. After just two weeks they both called, telling me how much they look forward to their visits,” says Kathy.
Kathy also finds its satisfying to help older people to be more independent.
She explains with pride how she taught the 90-year-old woman to do online training. The woman is also a volunteer for the community visitor scheme and visits isolated elderly people. Due to COVID-19 all volunteers have to do online training.
“I helped her to start the online course. Now she can do it by herself - I just send her the link. “
Retraining to propel your career
Kathy credits her successful career change to vocational education and training (VET).
“I learnt communication skills and how to network which are very important skills for a community-based role,” says Kathy.
“I also learnt to find the resources or information I need. You can’t know everything but now I know how to find information if I need it”.
Kathy is now thinking of studying for a psychology degree so that she can work as a counsellor in the community services sector.
“Having VET training means I have eighteen months credit so I can get a bachelors degree in just two years,“ says Kathy.
How to find work in the community sector.
Kathy recommends identifying what skills you have and what you like to do, and use that information to find work that suits you.
“Make a clear vision about what you want to be and what you want to do,” she says.
Kathy strongly recommends volunteering as a great way to get practical skills.
“Volunteering gave me opportunity to network and develop my professional skills,“ says Kathy.
“Age, gender and background doesn’t matter – when I started I was a single mom, came from another country, had a degree and work experience in a different industry and English was not my first language, but I have been successful.”
A mature-age apprenticeship in carpentry helped Anthony Di Cristofaro to switch careers.
Kate Jansen became a chef by putting her goals into practice.
Rebecca Hudson became a crane operator after completing a mature age apprenticeship.
A Certificate IV in Youth Work has opened doors for Chloe Baigent.
A certificate IV in Disability helped Miah Jagoe Shaw get her dream job.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
This website is owned and operated by the National Careers Institute in the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment using software licensed from Harvest Digital Planning (Harvest).
For details on how the Department of Education, Skills and Employment collects and protects your personal information, refer to its Privacy Statement below.
This Privacy Statement describes how the National Careers Institute (NCI) collects and uses personal information through this website on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
Participation in the website is voluntary. You should read this Privacy Statement if you wish to participate, in order to understand how we deal with your personal information if you choose to provide your personal information to us.
The NCI takes your privacy seriously and will collect, secure, hold, use and disclose, access and manage any personal information you choose to provide in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in Schedule 1 to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act).
Purpose of collection of personal information
This website is a web platform designed to enable the NCI to collect stakeholder feedback which will contribute to the NCI's current and future planning, projects and strategies to reach its goal of providing national leadership in the delivery of high quality, evidence-based career development information and to create unified and streamlined career information and services for all Australians.
As part of carrying out these activities, the NCI will conduct a range of consultation activities including, but not limited to, online polls, surveys, forms, direct feedback and online conversations (called 'chats').
If you choose to participate in the website, the NCI will collect personal information from you for the purposes of conducting research and stakeholder engagement in order to inform the key activities of the NCI.
Collection of personal information
In order to register for participation in the website, we will collect the following personal information from you:
For some categories of engagement, we may collect additional information including, but not limited to, your position title, organisation, age, gender, type of work you do, and your qualification level.
Some of the personal information we collect in certain circumstances is also 'sensitive information' for the purposes of the Privacy Act.
Once registered and logged-in to the system, we may collect information that you provide via the following feedback tools:
What happens if you choose not to provide personal information?
You do not have to provide the NCI with your personal information. Participation in the site is strictly voluntary and you can choose not to provide any personal information.
However, if you choose not to provide us with the personal information we need in order to register you, you may be unable to participate in some of the website's functions
Disclosure of personal information
The NCI will not generally disclose personal information collected through the website. There may be some cases, such as during an investigation by a law-enforcement agency, in which the NCI will be required or authorised to disclose personal information to another entity. The NCI’s contracted service providers may also access personal information for the purposes of providing services to the NCI.
Department of Education, Skills and Employment Policy
The following Terms and Conditions govern the use of National Careers Institute (“the site”). The platform is owned and operated by Harvest Digital Planning Pty Ltd (Harvest), on behalf of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
What are the conditions with a user’s account?
We are not responsible for the content on the site that has been provided by the users of the site. Any content posted by you is subject to the rules of our Moderation Policy. Your contribution to the site may be edited, removed or not published if we consider it inappropriate (refer to Moderation Policy). Contributors should also be aware that their posts may remain online indefinitely. Where practical, you may choose not to identify yourself, deal with us on an anonymous basis or use a pseudonym.
What does Harvest require from their users?
You must understand and agree that, without limitation:
Can your account be suspended or terminated?
We may terminate or suspend access to your site and/or account immediately, without prior notice, including without limitation if you breach the Terms. We may immediately deactivate or delete your account and all the related files and information in your account. After your account has been terminated, the content you have posted may also remain indefinitely on the site.
If you want to terminate your own account, please send an email to email@example.com.
These Terms shall be governed in accordance with the laws of Australia, without regards to its conflict of law provisions.
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment, its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, agents, licensors and other partners are not responsible for any loss, liability, claim, or demand, including legal fees, made by any third party due to or arising from a breach of this agreement and/or any breach of your representations and warranties set forth above.
What content do we own?
This website contains the copyrighted material, trademarks, patents, trade secrets and other proprietary information (“Intellectual Property”) of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment and its suppliers and licensors. Harvest owns and retain all proprietary rights in the intellectual property. All intellectual property in the content of this site including without limitation to text, software, source code, pages, documents and online graphics, photographs, sounds, audio, video and other interactive features are owned by or licensed to us.
Any original content that you submit or post on our site may be made available to the public and allows users to share your content (with the end user acknowledging your contribution) under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Australian License.
Except for Intellectual Property which is in the public domain or for which you have been given written permission, you may not copy, alter, transmit, sell, distribute any of the Intellectual Property.
We are not responsible for your communications or dealings, including payment and delivery of goods or services, with a third party found via our website. Any loss or damage incurred from those communications or dealings are solely between the user and the third party.
Disclaimer and Warranties
Users must agree that you use of the site is at your own risk. We make no warranty that the site will meet your requirements or be uninterrupted or error-free. Any material that the user downloads through the site is done at their own risk and are responsible for any damages to their computer system or loss of data.
What happens if these Terms change?
We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to modify or replace these Terms at any time without notice. The most recent version of the Terms can be seen on this page. By continuing to access or use our site after those revisions become effective, you agree and will comply to the revised terms. If you do not agree to the revised terms, please discontinue using our site.
If you have any questions about these Terms, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Creating an account helps us better understand your needs and the needs of the community.
Sign up with email
Already have an account? Log in now.
Thank you, your account has been created.
Completing the questions below helps us better understand the diverse range of people who contribute their ideas. The questions are optional.