Having always wanted to work in the tourism and hospitality industries, Conway Oliver had the drive and some experience, but lacked the qualifications to a get ahead.

After moving to Sydney from Cairns in 2009 and finding himself unemployed, Conway joined the Koori Job Ready (KJR) course in Hospitality. He says the opportunities that have presented themselves since completing the eight week program have been endless.

“I arrived in Sydney with no job, but wanted employment quickly. KJR was the perfect way for me to start my training; I loved every minute of it as it felt more like catching up with family than a training session. My teachers Aunty Beryl and Wendy Johnson made me feel comfortable and really helped me succeed.”

Koori Job Ready offers Aboriginal students training and mentoring in the hospitality, construction, rail and aviation industries. Since its inception in 2006 over 1000 employment opportunities have been created for Aboriginal people.

Since completing the Hospitality course Conway has worked at the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel as a food and beverage attendant and at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) in catering and housekeeping. Over a year ago he completed his Certificate III in Tourism and is now a Travel Specialist for Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australian.

“I have been working as a travel agent at Voyages for a year now and am really enjoying it. It is somewhere I want to be for a while and can see my career progressing here.

“So much has changed in my life since meeting Aunty Beryl and that very first day at KJR. The course was a godsend to me and Aunty Beryl and Wendy have both inspired me to go further in my career.”

Wendy said she is very proud of Conway and what he has achieved since finishing his Hospitality course, “I have been working with Conway over the years and have seen him grow and become more confident in his work and himself.  It is lovely to see him working hard and achieving his goals.”

Photo: Conway Oliver with KJR Hospitality Head Teacher, Aunty Beryl