Career dreams become reality
Philadelphia Hughes is someone who will never allow a small thing like not finishing high school to curb the big dreams she has for her future. In her relatively short career she has amassed an impressively long list of achievements: the Most Outstanding Student in her Class from Charles Darwin University (CDU) in 2014, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the 2015 Australian Training Awards, the AustralianSuper Career Kick Start Award in 2016,and the Darwin Young Citizen of the Year Award in 2017.
Having completed a Certificate IV in Frontline Management in 2014 and now part-way through a Bachelor of Psychological Science at CDU, she is already planning her next move, with a future career in Medicine and Psychiatry not an impossible dream.
“Before I began my vocational education and training (VET) studies there was no way in the world I would have dreamt of doing medicine—I never thought I was smart enough,” said Philadelphia. “But my success in gaining my certificate gave me the confidence to believe in myself and made it possible to take the next step to pursue higher education.”
Philadelphia began work for her employer, Independent Grocers, as a sales representative. She undertook her Certificate to progress from having a job to building a career.
“It was scary going back into an educational environment and daunting because I was the only one in the class who hadn’t been in a managerial position. At first I really felt behind the eight-ball, but that didn’t last long thanks to the support of my classmates and the amazing teachers,” she said.
Philadephia’s advice for anyone thinking about career options is that taking a VET pathway is the “best thing you can do”. “You are never ever going to regret it,” she said. “In fact my only regret is that I didn’t begin my training in high school and get my foot in the door of a tough employment market earlier.”
Given her own positive experience, Philadelphia, now a proud member of the VET Alumni, says she takes every opportunity to “spruik the benefits” of VET.
“I have a great opportunity as an Australian Training Awards winner and VET Alumnus to be an ambassador for VET and raise awareness of the wonderful career opportunities that it makes possible. If you’re uncertain about what to do, give it a go. It changed my life and it just might change yours too.”
Watch Philadelphia’s success story: The Frontline Manager: Philadelphia's story.
Book a VET Alumni member
To invite Philadelphia to share her success story at your event please contact VETAlumni@education.gov.au.