Born and raised Geraldton resident and mother Jodie Briese has recently been appointed social worker of Communicare's Midwest services after attaining her Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) at Geraldton Universities Centre.
Stemming from her love of family and heart for the community, Jodie discovered her passion for social work and began her journey into tertiary education after completing CQUniversity's STEPS bridging program.
Supported by Geraldton Universities Centre (GUC) and the WA Centre for Rural health (WACHR), Jodie attained practical placement at Mission Australia where she completed her final year in her home town and developed experience in the areas of family support, emergency relief, domestic violence, homelessness and tenancy support.
"I was ecstatic to be part of the very first cohort of social students at the GUC," Jodie said.
GUC's Director Natalie Nelmes, noted practical placements are a crucial component of the four-year degree and with a shortage of medical and allied health professionals in rural and regional WA, local organisations are primarily responsible for supporting students like Jodie with working opportunities that weren't only based in the city.
"It's the purpose of organisations like GUC and WACRH to support our community to live and study locally whilst also building a rural health work force." Natalie said.
Now as a fully qualified social worker and facilitator of Communicare's Not Our Way men's behavioural change program, Jodie is optimistic her story can inspire other regional residents that they too achieve their dreams.
"I was a kid from a small town and due to my duties as a single mother, moving to Perth to receive higher education wasn't an option." Jodie said.
"Without the help of these organisations, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish this and I'm happy to let others know that it is very possible to do what you love in the community that you love."
Communicare's CEO Melissa Perry said they were extremely proud to be able to provide job opportunities to local job seekers.
"Local knowledge is really important for our Midwest services team to deliver a broad range of services to local individuals and families living in Geraldton and surrounding areas."
Jodie will graduate with a bachelor of Social work (Honours) at GUC's Graduation ceremony in April.
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