Girls gain career inspiration

By Benalla Ensign

Students from Benalla P-12 College and FCJ College joined more than 100 Year 11 female students from across Victoria at the ‘‘Young Women’s Career Breakfast’’ last Thursday morning.

The event, which was at the Gateway Hotel in Wangaratta, was held for the 12th year and coincided with International Women’s Day.

Organised by the Zonta Club the event matches students with mentors in their chosen field of study and aims to empower the mentors and the girls looking up to them.

FCJ student Clare Dwyer was in attendance and wrote this review of her experience:

‘‘On March 8 the Year 11 girls woke up very early to attend a breakfast hosted by Zonta — Wangaratta Branch, a volunteer-run organisation that empowers women in the region by service.

‘‘We were provided with a breakfast and were paired to a mentor who had experience in our interests.

‘‘Different schools attended the breakfast from around the north east region. We had three guest speakers, Mary, Jackie and Alicha who all spoke of their challenges and the opportunities they were given, all in their different fields.

‘‘The focus of the morning was about looking at opportunities and taking them with gusto. They also encouraged us to challenge ourselves to participate in things that may be different.

‘‘They talked about the different paths that they took to get where they are today.

‘‘Alicha (a lawyer) studied while she worked full-time, she talked about options that were available, the support of family and friends and how great the local area is in supporting and providing opportunities to young people.

‘‘I was on the university table, with the mentors Rowan from the Charles Sturt University Board and Kristin from Melbourne University.

‘‘I was inspired by both these women because they overcame challenges, such as not getting into the course they wanted or not having the money needed to complete their course.

‘‘Although we were only there for a short time, I gained knowledge about applying to universities and pre-requisites from them and the other students on the table.

‘‘Overall I found that the women of Zonta were very providing and open about their experiences and I would recommend future Year 11 girls to go to the event and experience it for yourself because it is different for everyone.’’