For Samantha Smith, a career supporting at-risk youth and people with disability is something that has always been of great importance to her. Inspired by the experience of a family member whose child was born with Rett Syndrome, Sam is driven by the desire to see all people have the same opportunities to succeed.
Sam started her career in the vocational education and training (VET) sector in the Northern Territory in 1997, working locally and with the Tiwi Island peoples to teach life skills and business in order to create opportunities for local employment.
She then moved to Karratha, where she worked on commercial projects for industry and worked with the Ngarluma people to teach their Indigenous youth and connect them with employment opportunities. It was a role that ignited a strong sense of social justice in Sam – a passion she brought with her when she eventually moved back into the disability sector.
Since then, Sam has dipped in and out of teaching, spending time across various areas within the disability sector to develop her own skills before returning to the VET sector to pass her experience on to the next generation of disability workers.
From teaching young adults with disabilities to help them gain employment opportunities, to working on a board to support the disability industry, to taking on the role of service area manager for a disability service agency, Sam has experience across the many varied facets of the disability sector and has seen first-hand the transition for organisations into the NDIS.
Now, Sam is passing her compassion and experience on to others as a trainer for the Certificate IV in Disability at TAFE Queensland’s Hervey Bay campus.
Over the last two-and-a-half years, Sam has delivered training across the state and in particular the Fraser Coast, to people looking to develop their skills within the disability sector, working primarily with people wanting to advance their careers to become support coordinators, supervisors and managers.
To find out more about the Certificate IV in Disability, visit tafeqld.edu.au or call 1300 308 233, and see where TAFE can take you.