With a career in education and the community sector for more than 20 years, Sally Dumbrell, Mental Health Coordinating Council’s Learning and Training Manager, says her biggest motivator has been seeing people who have not been through the conventional academic pathway, come back to learn again.
Sally and the Learning and Development team at MHCC have together provided training to more than 200 students in highly regarded courses such as the nationally recognised Certificate IV in Mental Health, Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work and professional development short courses. The team have also brought a range of popular courses such as Understanding Mental Health and Understanding and Responding to Suicide, to regional areas of NSW, including Dubbo, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Parkes, Wagga Wagga and more.
As she prepares for retirement, we ask Sally to share her experiences and highlights in training and education for the community sector over the years.
Before I became a trainer I worked in housing and homelessness. Once I had kids, I decided I wanted to do something with more opportunities, so I completed a Graduate Diploma in Adult Education. My first job was teaching a literacy class to a small group of learners in a little town called Junee. From there I got a job at TAFE where I stayed for over 15 years. I ended up as Head Teacher of Community Services at Ultimo TAFE. I then worked for a short time with a peak housing organisation, training community housing workers, and I finally ended up at MHCC.
The biggest motivator for me has always been providing second chance education to people for whom the school system didn’t work. I love the pride that students get when they pass their first assessment, the joy that family members get seeing their loved one graduate. I think that learning should be a lifelong pursuit and I am happy that I have been a part of supporting people to open their minds to new ideas and skills.
When I first started at MHCC I didn’t have a huge knowledge of mental health. I have learnt so much from my colleagues here. The work that MHCC does to support the peer workforce is inspiring. The commitment that the trainers have to their students is fantastic and the support team that helps make it all happen are wonderful. The Learning and Development team are a hard-working, dedicated group and it’s been an honour to help them do their jobs. I love the fact that we provide as much support as possible to give students the chance to complete their course and meet their goals.
One thing that is great is the development of the mental health peer workforce. The only thing that I can think may improve is the relationship between the clinical workforce and the peer workforce. There is a lot of work being done to achieve this and I hope it continues.
I have a fairly new granddaughter who I would like to spend as much time as possible with. Also a bit of travel would be fantastic, I might become a grey nomad…
From everyone at MHCC, it’s been an honour to work with you Sally and we wish you all the very best on the new chapter ahead.
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