Tamborine Mountain’s Patricia Arora has won the prestigious Vocational Student of the Year Queensland Training Award for the Metropolitan Region.
Mrs Arora, who works at the Tamborine Mountain Community Care Association (TMCCA) and trained at Australis College where she studied a Diploma of Community Services, received the prize at a ceremony held at the Brisbane Convention Centre on Friday, July 27.
She is now a State finalist and will find out if she is successful at a Gala Dinner at the Royal International Convention Centre at Bowen Hills on September 8.
The humble community worker said the thing that most excited her about winning the award was setting an example for her daughters, Ahalyaa, 14, and Anoushka, 12.
“That’s the most important thing for me,” she said.
“I believe in leading by example rather than through giving instructions
“They are more likely to remember what they see me do.”
After immigrating to Australia in 2008 from Mumbai, India and settling on the mountain with her husband Pradeep, Mrs Arora was determined to see her girls integrate into Australian culture.
With Pradeep providing for the family, she spent some time helping their daughters to settle in their new country. Once confident they had adjusted to the Aussie way of life she set about finding work.
Despite possessing a Bachelor’s Degree in French from the University of Bombay, India, Diplomas from the Alliance Française de Paris, France as well as 15 years of work experience in the fields of software design, journalism and library documentation, both, in India and France, she could not land a job.
It appeared as though her time spent out of the workforce as a mother and homemaker was affecting her job applications so she sought to update her skills at an Australian vocational oriented institute.
Following completion of her Diploma of Community Services and work placement at TMCCA she gained permanent employment as a volunteer coordinator with the not-for-profit aged care service provider.
Mrs Arora loves the role at TMCCA because it gives her the chance to serve others and put her heart into her work.
She said her parents inspired her to chase a career for reasons other than salary expectations.
“I love working with people who believe there’s something beyond themselves,” she said.
“Being pro-active within communities, reaching out to someone who needs help – helping seniors and people in vulnerable situations is a great thing.
“It’s extremely fulfilling and humbling at the same time to be able to make an impact on these people’s lives.”
Having arrived 10 years ago, the Arora family now wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but Tamborine Mountain.
“The people are amazing,” Mrs Arora said.
“Over 50 ethnicities are represented and there is so many stories to share.
“It’s such a close-knit community and there are always volunteers willing to help out.”