STEPS student success: Gao gains new job, new skills and new friends

One of our much loved students 20 year old Gao Vang is a Hmong lady from Laos. After losing her father during the Secret War, she and her younger sister were adopted by an aunt and brought to Australia as refugees.

Gao came to STEPS to improve her language, literacy and numeracy skills and has just finished the Skills for Education and Employment Program (SEE) and Foundation Skills Program with huge success: A job!

STEPS trainer Angela Murphy said when Gao first started at STEPS, she was quite shy and had difficulties engaging with others.

“She tended to hide in the back corner of the classroom, but she had a fantastic sense of humour!,” she said.

“We were able to slowly bring Gao out of her shell, encouraging her to sit with her classmates and mix more.

“Her confidence began to grow and she started speaking and giving opinions during group discussions more and more.”

One day Gao came to class and announced she had been offered a casual position at a local Thai restaurant. She was beaming with confidence and her classmates were very proud of her.

Despite the success, she still wanted to complete her 800 hours at STEPS while working at the restaurant in the evenings. It was a big commitment and she was often tired when she came to class, but her hope was that she would full-time work once her studies had finished.

“Not only has Gao gained confidence and life skills, but she is also now earning money and enjoying the reward of buying clothes and getting a drivers licence,” Angela said.

“Gao has made steady progress during her time at STEPS and her skills have improved dramatically, especially in the areas of writing and oral communication.

“She has gained greater confidence from all she’s learned at STEPS and was able to create a resume, write cover letters and be assertive enough to ask questions from people to form the pathways she needs to obtain employment.”

Gao’s new found confidence and independence since joining STEPS has been deeply rewarding for all of those around her and we wish her the best of luck in her career ambitions.

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Casuarina and Palmerston literacy and numeracy students at Window on the Wetlands excursion.Milingimbi students enjoying learning in the garden
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