If Daniel can do it – so can you!

If Daniel can do it – so can you!

  • Published on Tuesday 27 July, 2010
  • 4 min. to read


Daniel McDonald won the prestigious NSW Indigenous Trainee of the Year Award 2010 for the South Western Sydney Region Training Awards.

Daniel is profoundly deaf and knows too well the challenges he faces in life. With great determination, he has used his Certificate III Business Administration traineeship as the way to launch himself into a career.

At first, however, Daniel explains that when he was looking for a job it was very hard to find because no matter how well suited he may have been for the work involved, he had trouble applying if he had to use a telephone. It was the Aboriginal employment agency, Yarn’n, in Redfern, that helped him find his job with the Sydney South West Area Health Service.

At the beginning, explains Penny Brady, the Executive Officer for the NSW Health Registered Training Organisation employing Daniel, although there was a good support system in place for Indigenous trainees, there was quite an investment in time finding out how Daniel could progress in his traineeship and how other staff could work in well with him.

Daniel is pretty down to earth and explains that it can be hard for other people to learn how to work with him and to face him when they speak so he can read their lips and their facial expressions. He laughs when he recounts how colleagues get confused if they are yelling his name loudly, but behind him as he continues to walk away! He isn’t self-conscious; he is just honest with them and explains he needs to see their face. ‘They are good people in this area and they make me feel welcome and appreciated.’

To his credit, according to Ms Brady, Daniel picks things up very quickly. He works in the recruitment section of the business and is responsible for the first shortlisting of candidates – matching applications to skills criteria. He also organised the Department Christmas party last year. Anyone in event management is bound to be impressed, knowing the amount of detail involved and need for clear communication.

Martin Ratcliff, the Area Manager for the local MEGT Australian Apprenticeships Centre works with thousands of businesses across the region and says that Sydney South West Area Health Service has a very good program for trainees, including their dedicated program of traineeships for Aboriginal Australians and people with a disability. From the time they start their Training Contract, Martin conducts regular monitoring checks until they qualify. He sees their progression and how they handle the challenges life throws at them.

So there were quite a number of very proud people at the Training Awards last week, cheering Daniel on!

Daniel spends so much time encouraging both Aboriginal communities and people at the Deaf Club (they are very quiet people he quips!) to be patient and keep going with their traineeship, it’s good to see his positive attitude, his work with community and his determination recognised.

His advice: being involved in a traineeship is very worthwhile. And when you finish the traineeship with Sydney South West Area Health Service, if you’ve done well, there’s a great career in the health sector ahead of you.

Australian Apprenticeships are an Australian government initiative.