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TAFE NSW Campbelltown


Picture: TAFE NSW student Emma Hickey

Newcastle local and proud Woopaburra woman, Emma Hickey, has been given a life-changing career opportunity thanks to a training program between TAFE NSW and the Public Service Commission.  

Fourteen Aboriginal Public Sector employees from across the state have been given the opportunity to study a nationally recognised qualification, giving them the chance to gain full-time employment. 

Emma studied the TAFE NSW Diploma of Leadership and Management and is due to graduate from the 18-month program this month. She said it was one of her proudest achievements. She is now employed full-time with the NSW Public Service as a Business Support Officer and wants to use her qualification to work on similar upskilling programs with the Indigenous community. 

“The program has been remarkable in developing my leadership skills and opening up opportunities in different career paths, thanks to the practical skills and experience I’ve gained by studying with TAFE NSW,” Emma said. 

“I never thought I would study at a diploma level, so it’s great that the Public Service Commission is facilitating this opportunity for employees, like me, to progress our careers.   

“I think it’s so important that organisations like the Public Service Commission and TAFE NSW empower Aboriginal people to gain a qualification and give them lifelong skills they can take with them into any workplace,” Emma said. 

Her course was customised for the Public Service Commission and combined on-the-job training with formal study to give students the skills and experience needed in their roles. Students learnt practical skills such as how to lead and manage a diverse workforce, manage a budget, financial and operational plans and how to develop policy and procedures to support a sustainable work environment. 

Public Service Commission Aboriginal Workforce Development Principal Advisor, Kelly Stanford, said “Emma has shown great enthusiasm and dedication to enhance her existing skills through workplace and vocational training.  

“The Public Service Commission is committed to growing and developing our Aboriginal workforce. Emma will be a wonderful asset and addition to the NSW Public Service Aboriginal talent pipeline,” Ms Stanford said. 

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Business & Administration, Laura Connelly, said Emma was a testament to the success of the program and a reflection of how essential leadership and management skills prepares and empowers students for a promotion or an opportunity to upskill in their industry. 

To find out more about how TAFE NSW customises training for businesses visit or call 1300 045 737. 

Media Contact: Jessica Cortis, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, 0456 170 211.