Trainee housing worthy ambitions

Housing Authority

A recent trip to the Kimberley for Housing Authority’s Perth-based Leah McClennan has given her new insight into transitional housing.

As a Public Sector Commission Aboriginal trainee, Leah visited the west Kimberley with the Authority’s Transitional Housing Program team to assist with information sessions for potential program participants. The program provides stable, affordable housing for Aboriginal people who are employed or in training, and who ensure their children attend school regularly.

‘The visit provided a chance to examine the operational side of the program and to see the properties being built and how construction in Broome and Derby differs from Perth,’ Leah said.

Leah has been with the Transitional Housing Program team since September 2016 and will complete her one-year traineeship later this year, after which she hopes to continue working in the housing sector.

Leah’s supervisors on the trip were Graham McCafferty, A/Manager Program Delivery, Joanne Turton, Senior Program Coordinator, and Simon Bell, Director Housing Programs.

‘It was rewarding to meet potential program participants and hear their story—where they are from and their home ownership goals and I learned a great deal about the land and history through my supervisors’ extensive knowledge of the area,’ Leah said.

Leah had informative meetings with the program’s property and tenancy managers and support providers who partner with the Housing Authority.

‘It’s great to know that people in the program have become the first people in their families to own their own homes and have gone on to become role models within their communities.’

Leah’s father and ancestors are from the Wardandi language group of Busselton, Capel, Margaret River and Augusta, with family also in the Broome and Lombadina communities, while her mother is Swedish.

Before undertaking the traineeship, Leah was working in childcare and studying a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.

‘I applied for the traineeship in February 2015 because I wanted to leave the childcare industry to explore different career options and to develop new skills in a challenging environment.

‘My time so far at Housing has been so rewarding and I haven’t looked back since changing careers and entering the public sector.’

Attract, appoint and advance: An employment strategy for Aboriginal people (Attract, appoint and advance) provides a cohesive set of actions that help public authorities realise good practices around attracting, appointing, retaining and developing Aboriginal people.

The strategy’s primary goal is to achieve greater retention and sustainable improvement in the representation of Aboriginal employees at all levels.