As the excitement surrounding the Central Coast Training Awards recedes, last year’s NSW Vocational Student of the Year winner has just inspired 40 women at a Country Women’s Australia (CWA) Cultural Day in Toukley.
An Iranian migrant and single mum who spent her childhood in war, Katayoon (Kathy) Karimodini has defied her tumultuous life journey by becoming a successful Central Coast community services worker.
As a Northern Settlement Services program coordinator, Ms Karimodini now supports and mentors other migrants as they settle in Australia, often having escaped traumatic situations.
She also volunteers weekly at the Central Coast Community Women’s Health Centre, as an intake worker and administration assistant, and at Wesley Mission, visiting people in their home and in the aged care facility.
Ms Karimodini said changing her career from computer science to community services by completing a Diploma of Community Services at TAFE NSW Ourimbah in 2017 has offered her a rich, varied and rewarding life.
“I began my community services studies when we settled on the Central Coast, after moving 13 times since migrating, and it changed my life,” she said.
“I went from being a new arrival in Australia to new community member to passionate citizen. I learned my strengths, weaknesses, rights and how to improve my skills. It was great to be able to start studying so easily.
“I have moved my profession into a job path I truly love. From a miserable mum of twins a couple of weeks after arriving in Australia to a strong mum and role model for my daughters… I enjoy sharing my story to inspire others to encourage them to take up the opportunity to follow their passion.
“The economic and psychological effects of a childhood in war impacted me, but the positive part of that is that you learn to be resilient and find ways to rescue yourself. Knowledge and education is the most powerful way to win the war, and we are all responsible to make a world where everyone lives happier and healthier.
“Gaining a TAFE NSW qualification changed my life professionally and personally. It is such a diverse, dynamic and supportive environment thanks to the teachers, tutors and connected service providers.
“The training awards process was another important step in my journey, as it provided me with leadership and public speaking skills that I have been able to use to inspire others. I want to encourage people to follow their dreams. If I can do it, they can do it - why not.”
CWA vice president and culture officer Francine Gunesch said, “Kathy is a remarkable girl, and a wonderful example of a vibrant and happy new attitude permeating these important times.”
CWA is a non-political organization established in 1922 that now has over 400 branches and 8000 members in NSW. As Francine said with tongue in cheek, “Not bad for little old ladies famous for their ‘tea and scones’!”
Australia’s largest training provider, TAFE NSW offers over 1200 courses, from certificates to degrees. Many can be studied online via TAFE Digital, when and where it suits students. Visit www.tafensw.com.au or call 131 601.