It came as no surprise to the team here at Directions that our Northam manager and GTO Indigenous mentor Brenda DeAtta was named Avon Valley Business Excellence Awards – Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Employee of the Year for 2019.
The award was presented at the awards dinner in Northam hosted by the Northam Chamber of Commerce.
Brenda’s achievements are impressive. Over the past four years alone, Brenda has assisted over 400 individuals to change, gain or improve their training or employment prospects.
In her role as Indigenous Mentor and Apprentice Consultant to Directions’ group training organisation Brenda supports apprentices and trainees throughout the Wheatbelt, offering ongoing support and mentoring throughout their training.
She has a responsibility for 5 staff and the day to day running of a contracted service to people who are undergoing difficulties in finding employment or training opportunities.
Brenda was also instrumental in developing and delivering one of Directions major benevolent projects; the very successful Career Directions careers expo which has run for the last two years in Northam, and which has a focus on Indigenous employment and training options and opportunities. As a registered charity, the Career Directions event is one of the key ways we give back to our community.
Brenda’s commitment to supporting people, her compassion and her leadership skills were all well acknowledged during the awards process so we thought we’d do a 5 Questions in 5 Minutes Interview to share insights on her role and what motivates her.
1. What inspired you to pursue your career path in workforce development?
Through Directions, I was given the opportunity as a mature aged trainee to complete a Certificate II in Business. On completion, I was employed as a receptionist at the (then) Workforce Development Centre in Northam. Here I worked with the Career Development Officers assisting clients to gain employment and improve their employment prospects.
After working as the receptionist, I was offered the opportunity to train as a Career Development Officer and jumped at the opportunity.
2. One of your key roles at Direction is Indigenous Mentor. What do you find the most motivating thing about mentoring?
Mentoring offers me the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of my clients and community members. Guiding and supporting my clients through the challenges they face within employment and also life, is rewarding and seeing them come out the other end in a positive way makes it all worthwhile.
3. What’s the best piece of career advice you ever got?
Never give up and don’t be afraid to take baby steps to achieve your goals.
4. What do you think your greatest strength is and how has it helped you?
My greatest strength is building relationships with all people, aboriginal and non-aboriginal. This has allowed me to gain the trust and respect of clients and community members.
5. You have been a role model for people in the region and beyond for many years – who have been role models for you?
My mum and dad have been role models for me. Their unconditional love, support and guidance helped build strong foundations for me to succeed in my life’s journey.
The values that they have instilled upon me are to treat everyone equally and respectfully, and to be grateful for every opportunity life has to offer.