It is all possible!

Encouraged to Leave but Eager to Stay

Aurora was bright and showed promise at school so she was actively encouraged to leave for the city as soon as she could. She admits when she was younger that sounded appealing and when everyone is saying ‘there’s nothing here’ you almost start to believe it… 

As she got older however and became heavily involved in the community, she knew she wanted to stay and began researching her options. 

Aurora had always been interested in Allied Health, having a younger brother with a disability she had been to many health appointments with him and was leaning towards Speech Pathology until she sat in on an Occupation Therapy session, which lit the spark in her.  

In 2021, while in Year 10, Aurora participated in a RIEP workshop (The Regional Industry Education Partnerships program), where students visited the University of Wollongong Shoalhaven Campus to tour the nursing facilities and hear from local employers in the health sector. The team at Shoalhaven Occupational Therapy (SOT) stood out to her and she had already witnessed the way they’d been able to enhance her brother’s life. 

Aurora completed 4 TAFE Certificates while completing her HSC at Nowra High School and even began working at SOT after school. By the time she had graduated she was qualified to work as an Allied Health Assistant and could hit the ground running. 

Aurora is a local youth leader, mentor and youth ambassador on the Shoalhaven River Festival Committee – she is well known and loved member of the community and does not want to leave. 

“I’m grateful for the opportunities this far, I’m glad I did my research and stayed but it’s disappointing that I will have to leave at some stage to study OT at University. I’ve written to local Campus’ and told them I could fill a class for them tomorrow if they’d only offer the degree!” 

The sad reality is that despite her willingness to stay and the significant skill shortage that exists in this area, opportunities to study OT locally are simply not available.  

Not only has Aurora carved out her own impressive career path already, but she has also been a shining beacon for the community – inspiring other young people to follow. 

One young person, who has applied to do a student placement at SOT, decided she wanted to also be an OT when she was 5 years old after having a conversation with Aurora who made the industry sound so interesting.  

“My whole family works in health, so I’ve seen the way it makes a difference in people’s lives and that there are lots of pathways for a fulfilling career,” added Aurora. 

To read more about the important role of AHA’s at SOT visit: 


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