Sydney Access

YWCA NSW

Too good to be true

When Year 12 student Belinda Eades met up with her work place mentor, Tabatha Pollard, it seemed too good to be true. Tabatha had completed her Certificate lV in Business Services the previous June and had been given the opportunity to mentor Belinda who is studying Certificate ll in Business Services at Robert Townson High School.

Christine Nguyen, Tabatha's supervisor, gave Tabatha the opportunity to be a mentor, with support from YWCA NSW's Human Resources department. 'It is rare to have the opportunity to mentor someone when you are not a supervisor or manager', Christine says. 'Tabatha will learn new things as well and be able to add these to her skillbase.' This is a credit to her employer YWCA NSW, who recognised that Tabatha would rise to the occasion and relate well to a student. 'I really felt proud when I was asked to be a Sydney Access mentor for Belinda,'says Tabatha. 'I had a mentor called a Big Sister from the YWCA NSW's Big Brother - Big Sister program who had helped me in the past and I wanted to give something back.'

Charity begins at home

YWCA NSW is part of the worldwide YWCA, a global network of women leading social and economic change in 125 countries worldwide. YWCA NSW supports vulnerable people at those critical transition periods in life when they are more prone to fall through the gaps. Sydney Access is a great program for us, says Mathew Paine, Head of Human Resources at YWCA NSW. 'It gives us an opportunity to do something within the organisation and local community, in addition to the external work that we do.' He says, 'being a Sydney Access employer matches the organisation's values and supports our development program for staff. As a result of YWCA NSW being part of Sydney Access, Belinda will now be able to communicate to others what we do. Belinda certainly realises that for a charity to run effectively and efficiently it requires first class administration support!'

Meeting of minds

'Tabatha was a really great mentor', says Belinda who undertook a great many tasks during her five day Sydney Access placement. 'She is approachable and so organised.' Tabatha thought it would be helpful for Belinda to have step by step guides for some of the administrative tasks, most of which are carried out using computerised systems. Belinda says, 'I learned quickly that attention to detail is vital and asking questions to clarify something is important.' Belinda's greatest achievement towards the end of the week was to complete a complicated mail merge independently. 'I was so excited when it worked, which meant that all the separate tasks had come together perfectly.'

More Belindas please!

Belinda made such an impression that YWCA NSW has already committed to the Sydney Access program for 2010. Matt summed up the reason he would like to take on more students with Belinda's attitude. 'Belinda came across as very professional and had a mature approach. She was willing to get stuck in and had no qualms in asking for more work or help when she needed it. She was very polite and by the end of the week it felt like she had been working with us for much longer than five days!' Belinda certainly looks at home in the photo with her mentor Tabatha. It's hard to tell which one is the student!