Kamilaroi woman from Coonamble, Ruth Williams, has become the fifth woman to complete the NSW Health Aboriginal Environmental Health Officer Training Program which is helping to boost the Aboriginal workforce across the state.
Mrs Williams recently graduated from the Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Natural Science (Environment and Health) degree and is now working in Hunter New England Local Health District’s Tamworth office as an environmental health officer.
It was a big career change for Mrs Williams who joined the six-year training program in 2009 after 26 years of cotton farming and office administration.
“I have more than 100 nieces and nephews and I wanted to become a role model for them,” Mrs Williams said.
“I joined the training program because I want to make a difference in environmental health, particularly Aboriginal health.
“The traineeship is a great initiative by NSW Health and it opens doors to new and rewarding employment opportunities. I would recommend the Aboriginal Environmental Health Officer Training Program to any Aboriginal person seeking a career in environmental health.”
NSW Health’s Aboriginal Environmental Health Unit launched the training program in 1997. Since then 15 Aboriginal people from across the state have graduated from the program and the majority are working in the environmental health sector. There are currently 11 trainees taking part in the program.
Manager of NSW Health’s Aboriginal Environmental Health Unit, Mr Jeff Standen, said the training program was the only one of its kind operating in Australia.
“The success of the program is a demonstration of NSW Health’s commitment to boosting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in the workforce and to Aboriginal health more broadly,” Mr Standen said.
For more information about the program contact the NSW Health Aboriginal Environmental Health Unit on (02) 9391 9790 or go to the NSW Health website at: NSW Health Aboriginal Environmental Health Officer Training Program.