Next Wednesday the winners of the WA Training Awards 2022 will be announced, and Byford local Wayne Ryder is hoping the skills and maturity he has developed since his last nomination will earn him an award.
No stranger to striving for community change, Wayne founded the Waakal Moort Kaadadjiny Festival, realising his dream of a, local, health-focused Aboriginal festival in 2019 with big goals to grow it into an annual, Perth-wide event.
But the timing did not work in his favour, and when the pandemic hit and sponsors dried up, Wayne aimed his attention elsewhere, joining not-for-profit alcohol and other drug service provider Palmerston as a Community Counsellor.
“I did apply back in 2018 for the same award but I didn’t make it,” Wayne said.
“I understand why – I compared both applications and I can see a totally different person, just the maturity I have shown and the training I have received.”
Spending nearly two years studying online at the Australian Institute of Management in a Management Leadership course, Wayne said the struggles of studying whilst also being a family man were challenging, but worth it.
“It was pretty intense, working fulltime, juggling my family but also trying to finish studying,” he said.
“Covid hit at that time and I broke my leg as well, playing footy, so that was a bit of a struggle.
“The course really paid off though, not just as a certificate – it’s matured me as a person and as a worker.
“In that time, I have managed to get a promotion in my role, they actually created a new role in my division, which is fantastic.
“It just shows the hard work and dedication of not just staying at an organisation but staying within my team, which supports the Aboriginal community.
“We hear all the time from the people we support that they want to give back and help others, but it is hard for people to get into studying and to build a career, sometimes they don’t know how to go about it.
“Knowing about scholarships and training pathways is a big deal and a big motivation for people to continue on that journey.
“When our clients come out the better end, that success keeps us striving forward.”
Looking ahead to the awards, Wayne said he is proud to join the other three candidates in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year category.
“I’m up against three other finalists and I wish them all the best,” Wayne said.
“No matter what happens I’m proud of where I’m at and it’s been a great opportunity to be a part of this.”