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Sophie Bailes

Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Practice

Trained by Aboriginal Health Council of SA

Employed by Oodnadatta Health Service

An Antakarinja and Yankuntjatjara woman from Oodnadatta in South Australia’s remote outback, Sophie has strong family and cultural ties across the state’s far north.

She is completing a Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Practice with the Aboriginal Health Council of SA (AHCSA), a qualification the followed on from her earlier Certificate III studies.

Sophie says her study journey – which involved travelling extreme distances to attend workshops in Adelaide – was often unpredictable, with roads closed and areas cut off and inaccessible. However, determined to combine her studies with work in a small clinic in Oodnadatta, she found Vocational Education and Training rewarding, enjoying the opportunity to apply her classroom learnings in a practical setting.

“I have always been interested in school and committed to learning,” says Sophie. “However, living in a remote town with only 200 or so people meant that opportunities in the area were very limited, with high school ending by Grade 10.”

“To continue my studies, I worked through an open access program which depended on unreliable infrastructure and unstable internet – but I managed to get through it.”

After completing high school, Sophie relocated to Coober Pedy, where she was employed as a receptionist in an alcohol and other drugs service, and it was there that she developed an interest in primary health care.

“My Dad has been a big role model for me to seek out a pathway into working in Aboriginal health,” she says. “I care deeply about my work and study and feel that it’s important for me to continue to work and provide culturally appropriate care for the people in my community.”

“My goal is to remain in Oodnadatta and eventually work towards a degree and career in nursing.”