Simone in front of CYE Lockhart

Empowerment First

Simone Accoom is Cape York Employment’s (CYE) Administration Assistant in Lockhart River. One day, she dreams of becoming a diesel fitter in Weipa for Rio Tinto but, for now, empowerment in Lockhart River is her top priority.

In Simone’s early years, she saw and felt the lack of empowerment in her community. “Growing up to see my people having no direction or hopes to achieve anything was not inspiring,” Simone shared. “As I grew older into the young woman I am today, I feel in my heart the responsibility has been put onto me to care for Lockhart and inspire others.”

Before Simone started with CYE, she worked as a retail assistant for Lockhart River’s only supermarket before she felt it was time for a change in her career. Simone expressed her interest in the administration assistant role at Cape York Employment with Maria Zaro, the Team Leader for CYE office in Lockhart River. Upon meeting with Simone, Maria knew she was the right person for the role.

“I saw so much potential in Simone,” Maria said. “Without a hesitation I offered her the position.”

Simone was thrilled. “I felt excited about the role I was about to step into,” Simone said. “Especially being someone who is keen to learn new things.”

Simone sitting in the Lockhart CYE Reception.

Simone’s role is part of CYE’s Community Projects program, which is funded by the National Indigenous Australian Agency to provide real jobs, proper wages and decent conditions. With the high employment and lack of market jobs, locals in Lockhart River can find themselves on passive welfare, which can strip them of their self-worth. Jobs created by Community Projects are new jobs, created to align with people’s passions and benefit the community, rather than simply providing a welfare payment. The roles also prepare the participants to take up suitable market jobs in the area. This approach was led by the community as well as input from Australia’s leading Indigenous think tank – Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership.

Being fresh into the role, Simone encountered several challenges along the way, including learning new IT systems. Simone managed to overcome these hurdles with support from CYE staff.

“It was stressful understanding the systems, but I did not allow this to get to me,” Simone said. “I was confident I will overcome them.”

Maria was pleased with Simone’s progress in her role. “It is good to see Simone maintaining a positive attitude, she is an asset to our team,” Maria said.

Simone is enjoying her role, especially as she gets to contribute to the empowerment of her community.

“I enjoy my time working for CYE,” she said. “I love helping people and helping my community. Especially seeing them bettering themselves and feeling empowered.”

Simone knows that community engagement is essential to discovering the aspirations of those in search of job opportunities. She now comes to work each day knowing she is a role model for others and that her role at Cape York Employment is helping others find a job that suits their skills and passion.



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