The future is bright for NRL School to Work student Libby Clapson, who is set to finish the HSC with a wealth of options after winning her second major trainee award.
Crowned the My Gateway School Based Trainee of the Year in December, she was recently announced as the NSW Training School Based Trainee of the Year for southern and south-western Sydney.
Clapson, who began a business traineeship with Campbelltown City Council at the start of 2020 while attending Magdalene Catholic College, was up against 147 applicants for the prestigious honour.
The Year 12 student finished a Certificate III in Business Administration as part of her traineeship well ahead of schedule and expects to complete a Certificate IV - which she enrolled in of her own accord - before receiving her HSC results later this year.
"I'm still working at the Council … My traineeship finishes in December. However, if I can [complete] 100 days, which I already have, and I have another job to go to, I can leave," said Clapson, who accepted the NSW Training award on Zoom due to COVID restrictions.
"I am there two days a week. School Based is meant to be one day, however, My Gateway has accepted me for two days a week."
Clapson was set on working in human resources, but with the help of the School to Work program, she said she is now looking to pursue a career in "People and Culture and the community".
School to Work has two aims: assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to complete high school and then helping them transition into meaningful employment or tertiary education.
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Alanah Scholes, a Wests Tigers School to Work project officer, is striving to source career opportunities for Clapson.
Scholes had organised for Clapson to do work experience with the NRL's People and Culture team a couple of weeks ago but it was postponed because of Sydney's latest lockdown.
"We're exploring all different avenues for her," Scholes said.
"My goal is to hopefully have her walk into a job once she graduates and finishes her traineeship, whether it's with the Council, whether it's looking at other corporates that NRL School to Work works with, whether it’s with the NRL – who knows.
"She's such an intelligent and bright young girl. She's definitely got lots of different career paths that she'd be great for and she's so switched on. Any employer would be lucky to have her.
"It's so great to see how much she's come along. She had some aspirations when I first met her, but I've seen her grow [personally] and also grow academically around what her career is."
Through the School to Work program, Clapson has also been able to connect with her culture and learn about her family history.
"I didn't really know much of my culture before seeing Alanah and being part of the NRL School to Work program," Clapson said.
"‘We always knew that we are Aboriginal, [but] I had no idea where my mob was originally from.
"Alanah has definitely answered a lot of questions for me, she helped me a lot with my connection to my mob."