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Young Indigenous Australian Rebekah Carr is one of many success stories from the Maxima-run Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) in South Australia, although her story has an unusual twist.

Rebekah, 22, had worked and trained in health services in her home town of Mildura but was frustrated at being unable to find steady work.

A year ago, she moved to Adelaide in the hope of finding more opportunities and came across VTEC, a Federal Government-funded initiative run by Maxima in South Australia to bridge the employment gap for Indigenous jobseekers.

“VTEC was a good way to get me out of the house and meet people. I felt it was really good for me. The people running the VTEC program had all the resources I needed and links with employers.”

After joining the program, Rebekah was given one-on-one help by Maxima’s VTEC leader, Natasha Christie, who did a stocktake of Rebekah’s skills and capabilities and helped her with job interview techniques.

“When we met Rebekah we could see she had so much potential, so we jumped at the chance to get her into a position at Maxima.”

Rebekah initially worked part-time in administrative support for Maxima’s Indigenous Employment group, which is focused on finding apprenticeships and trainee positions.

But within months Rebekah had moved into a full-time role, supporting Natasha in the VTEC program and mentoring Indigenous jobseekers just like herself less than a year earlier.

Natasha says Rebekah is very passionate about indigenous employment, getting sustainable outcomes and old-fashioned customer service outcomes.

“And she relates so well to jobseekers on their level. She demonstrates all the values we have at Maxima.”

Rebekah says the fact that she was helped by VTEC and now works within the same program to assist Indigenous people “kind of speaks for itself.”

“I feel quite strongly about VTEC because a lot of indigenous jobseekers need the support it provides, not just to get into a job but to help them through the first six months.”

“Many indigenous jobseekers come from a background of disadvantage. They might have had significant issues at home or in the family, so they don’t get the opportunities to go to school and can get stuck in a vicious cycle.”