In 2020 Teija Hampton’s life was turned upside down by COVID-19.
With a background in hospitality, the Hervey Bay local had not long started a new role in a customer facing role when COVID hit.
Her contract was not renewed and for a time Teija found herself without income and unable to pay bills, including her rent.
She took to couch surfing to stay off the streets and was struggling with her health.
As the MAX team continued to provide health and employment supports, the young woman successfully gained a scholarship to complete a Certificate III through the Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians.
Teija chose to enrol in a BSB30120 – Cert III in Business at MAX’s Registered Training Organisation (RTO 0667).
Throughout her time studying, Teija found her MAX trainer, Darren Sibraa incredibly helpful.
“Even though the course was all done online, I never felt I was doing it alone. I always knew I could send him a message and get the help that I needed,” says Teija.
“He was there to help me with my work, and whatever was going on in my life.
“I have faced many hurdles since starting my course, from struggling with stable housing during the COVID-19 pandemic, to being frequently unwell and at times hospitalised,” she says.
Teija found the course work very practical and applicable. As part of her course, her employment provider helped her land an internship at a local medical centre and quickly found she was able to apply the things she was learning in the virtual classroom to her everyday work.
“Doing the course, I’d be reading about things, and then a real-life example would walk through the doors,” says Teija.
Once her placement was complete, Teija’s employer sat her down. Letting her know how well she’d done during her internship, they offered her a job as a medical receptionist.
She’s worked at the medical centre since, developing in her role and being given extra responsibilities along the way.
“I wouldn’t have the job I have today without doing the course,” says Teija.
“It’s not a job thought I was going to do. I loved hospitality – being able to serve people and work with people. But now I get to do that – just in a different environment.
“I love it. It’s something I see myself having a career in. It’s really nice – it’s a good feeling,” she says.
When asked about why she enjoys the role, Teija responds:
“I like making coming to the doctor a less horrible experience for people. When they come to the doctor, it’s because they’re sick – things aren’t good. But I like being able to have a smile on my face and help people.”
Qualified and working steady hours, Teija now has enough money to consistently pay her rent and live comfortably.
“I don’t feel like I’m ever going to be in a position again where I’m going to have to ask someone if I can sleep on their couch,” she says.
To bring Teija full circle, she’s now helping to defeat the virus that turned her life upside down.
“I now work in the local COVID clinics, getting people the vaccines,” she says.
“It feels good, feels like I’m helping my community – helping the same people I see when I go to the shops. There’s a lot of elderly in our community and it’s nice to be able to help them,” she says.
As she looks to the future, Teija is planning further study to grow and develop her medical administration career. Starting with a short course in interpreting and applying medical terminology, she is also considering studying practice management in the future.
“I want people to know that I genuinely believe that if I could do it, if I could come from my situation to where I am now – anyone can do it,” says Teija.
Congratulations Teija – the whole MAX team is proud of you!