Angela Tann says “persistence” was the key to landing her dream job: helping deliver health services to Indigenous people in the Peel region.

The Bibbulmun woman, 33, moved from Rockingham to Mandurah in 2016 where she, like many others, struggled to find a job.

There was also the added challenge of needing a job that would accept and support her situation as a single mother of two boys, aged 12 and 15, and a six-year-old girl who has autism.

Soon after arriving in Mandurah following a marriage breakdown, she became a client of Nidjalla Waangan Mia, an Aboriginal medical service in Greenfields.

Ms Tann “loved” visiting Nidjalla Waangan Mia so much she was set on working there, and applied for work as receptionist at the Service from 2017.

“It’s the environment and the people. It’s warm and you feel automatically at home,” she said.

She started in her new role as a receptionist at the service just over a month ago.

Camera IconAngela Tann has found her place after starting in her new role at Nidjalla Waangan Mia Health Centre in Mandurah. Credit: Jake Dietsch/Coastal Times

Ms Tann said she had previously been in and out of work.

“I worked at other places, but I just didn’t feel supported. I didn’t feel accepted because I was juggling trying to work and I also had to be a carer for my daughter,” she said.

Mandurah’s unemployment rate — which remains in double digits and well above the state average — was an added challenge.

“If I was in Perth, I probably would have got a job sooner,” she said.

“Here I think we’ve got a lot of people looking for work, but not enough places advertising. That’s what I think makes our unemployment rate so high.

“When I was putting in applications, in one position there was over 200 applicants.”

Ms Tann recalls walking to every clinic in the region and applying for jobs — printed resume in hand.

“It used to knock me down sometimes. I would think ‘you know what, I’m just going to sit on my a…. Because no one wants me.’ I had been out of work for so long and I found, the longer you’re out of work, the harder it is to rejoin the workforce,” she said.

“And I am qualified as a receptionist. I’ve worked in hospitals and clinics. There were days I wanted to give up. But I didn’t, I just kept being persistent.”

Ms Tann says she now feels like she belongs at work and plans on staying for a long, long time.

“They know my situation with the kids and they fully support it,” she said

“I’ll be here for years. I’m going to be the old little lady with the biscuit barrel and making everyone tea and coffee.”

Ms Tann said the team she worked with made a huge difference.

“That’s what makes me get up and come to work with a smile on my face. They make me feel confident that I’m good at my job. It is a team and it feels amazing,” she said.

The new job has also provided Ms Tann an opportunity to reconnect with her Indigenous culture.

“My dad’s Aboriginal and my mum’s white,” she said.

“I wasn’t really raised around my Dad’s side of the family. I’ve always had that fascination and I wanted to get back to my roots and understand my culture.

“Working here I feel like I’m getting to know me and my culture.”

Nidjalla Waangan Mia reached its 10-year anniversary in June, with celebrations pushed back to next month due to COVID-19.

To contact Nidjalla Waangan Mia call 9586 4580.

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