Careers on the coast

The Building Careers in Circular Head event attracted locals from diverse backgrounds including event organiser Margot Kelly, and guest speakers Aaron Robertson, Joel Gilby and Stafford Ives-Heres. Picture: Ashleigh Force. 

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Opportunity. Conversations surrounding the culture of success and professional development resonated throughout the Building Careers in Circular Head event last week.

Held at Agritas Trade College on Friday, the event was presented by The Coasters and a panel of local guest speakers.

The Coasters, founded by Margot Kelly, Claire Smith, Alexander McKenzie and Jacqueline de Jonge, is a networking and professional development initiative of aspirational young people living and working in various industries across the north west coast.

The event hosted guest speakers in Crowe Horwath accounting partner Aaron Robertson, Stanley abalone farmer Joel Gilby and Marrawah winemaker Stafford Ives-Heres, all of whom have had different experiences throughout their careers.

Originally from New Zealand, Aaron began with a two year contract in Smithton and says he believes he has had more opportunities in Circular Head than anywhere else.

Joel, who is currently rehabilitating and rebuilding the abalone farm in Stanley, originates from Victoria and with the knowledge gained from his Bachelor of Science degree at Deakin University, has created a career in a niche market.

Stafford, a born and bred Marrawah local is in his third season as a pinot grape grower after transitioning from a crayfisherman. Completing his education at Redpa Primary and Smithton High schools, Stafford says this connection to his community motivates him to continue to live and work locally.

After moving to the north west coast to pursue career opportunities, event organisers Claire and Jacqueline agree that it is the feeling of community that attracted them to the lifestyle.

Jacqueline, a teacher at Marist Regional College, says that to create a career for yourself you need to look deeper than the region you are working in and create social roots to support you.

“What came across overwhelmingly tonight [is that] opportunity abounds here,” and the focus is now on keeping people on the north west coast. “And that comes down to social connection.”

Claire, chief financial officer with Cradle Coast Authority, adds that having a space such as The Coasters for young people to create that culture will support both locals and those new to the area.

“Providing those opportunities for young people to identify mentors, for them to build those skills and to really have someone to look up to . . .”

For more information or to see what events are coming up, ‘Like’ the Facebook page The Coasters: Building Careers on the North West Coast.

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