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Interview: Dora Ambrosi Wall

Speaker 1:

Okay, great. Can you hear me still?

Dora:

Yes, I can hear you.

Speaker 1:

Wonderful. Okay, so I am talking to Dora [inaudible 00:00:14] who has achieved three … sorry, five qualifications through Recognition of Prior Learning, which is pretty amazing.

              So, Dora, I know that we already spoke a bit about your story, and your background. Can you just take me back through, just a summary of your career history? Where it all started and what you’ve been through, and then I’ll get you to [inaudible 00:00:43] found out about Recognition of Prior Learning.

Dora:

Sure. Well, thank you very much for doing this. I think it’s lovely that you wanted to follow-up and I’m very grateful that I was able to get those five extra qualifications.

              So I was born in South America in Uruguay [inaudible 00:01:02]. I came to Australia with my parents just before I turned 15. We migrated. So my parents applied, and we kind of went along those lines, interviews with the ambassador and the council and all that, and then came to Australia to live here.

              I finished my schooling here. I did the HSC, but my English was not great because starting to learn English and do the HSC, it was pretty tough. So I didn’t qualify to university but I did want to study. So I got a job, and I studied part-time and I got a diploma in Applied Chemistry and Instrumentation. That got me into working in a laboratory.

              I worked in [inaudible 00:01:46] department and for the government for about a year, and the training [inaudible 00:01:49]. And then worked for Australian Glass Manufacturing for about 10 years, which was really good work and I enjoyed a lot of that. I got to a level in there where I was actually running my area, my laboratory which was really good.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Dora:

I finished up with them, and then I moved the facility in Victoria, and I wanted [inaudible 00:02:08] and I got a job with Shell. I worked at Shell about a year and a half and I got invited to go into Caltex.

              Cal tex had a big, at that time in ’94, they revamped their laboratory and then I was asked to go in as a professional because before they used to have just operators running the laboratory.

              So I got a job in there and worked there for about 12 years and I got a lot of experience on management and looking after people and work health and safety. I was the safety officer for a while as well which helped me with some of the examples that I needed for the workers and safety course.

              Then I was asked if I wanted to join the environmental department for a period of time to do a project. Which I moved into that and, because I did a good job in that, they didn’t want me to leave. [inaudible 00:03:03] my qualifications on environmental management. I did that by correspondence. Then I became the environmental coordinator for about 12 years.

              In 2014, Cal tex decided that we wouldn’t have the department anymore so they shut it down and I was invited to stay for the demolition as the environmental specialist. That project, it was a $219 million project and started with about 400 people and I was one of the last ones to leave. There was only five of us left in February. It was all to do with environmental management and looking after the people we had been training, looking after [inaudible 00:03:52] management, speaking to the government. All the different work bodies CPA, [inaudible 00:03:57] news as well. All that’s related to the job. So aside-

Speaker 1:

Sorry, Dora. There’s really loud clicking happening. Is that something that’s happening at your end?

Dora:

No, that’s happening to your end, not my end.

Speaker 1:

That’s weird.

Dora:

‘Cause I’m just sitting down in a room with no one around me.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So you can hear that as well?

Dora:

Yes, I can hear the clicking.

Speaker 1:

That’s strange. I’m just sitting here still as well.

              Okay, let’s just keep going.

Dora:

So, part of the redundancy package was that retraining in order to help people get different jobs and a lot of people took them up. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I was a bit light on going in there, but I was still lucky enough to get some of the courses done.

              One of my colleagues, we were discussing about what I needed, what I thought I needed to move forward, and he mentioned special education. He said “I recently got some qualifications through the company, maybe you should give them a call.” I was blessed with a lady called [inaudible 00:05:10], I think, and she was just the most encouraging person I have ever met. She should be a motivational speaker because she was just [crosstalk 00:05:19]. She really helped me because if I didn’t have her encouragement I don’t think I would have, probably, followed through.

              Cal tex paid for a couple of my qualifications and I decided to pay for the rest because I felt that since I was able to get them my… It was really easy. You kind of give them your resume, to your company. It helps out a lot because it kind of tells you, “right, then you can apply for this, this, and this” because sometimes you don’t think you can. Like, I didn’t realize that I did a lot of management work. I used to have to talk to people, do their performance review, and I didn’t even think of applying for that until she sort of mentioned it. I ran a lot of projects throughout the years from beginning to end, so I was able to get the project management course as well. That was extremely helpful. Conversations that I had with her and examples that I sent, I might have sent an example for one thing but I would get an email saying “you know, that example can be used for this as well.”

Speaker 1:

Oh great. Yeah.

Dora:

The help that she gave me to be able to see further. If she had not been like that, I would just have needed up with the work health and safety certificate, I would have never gone further. So that’s something that I think was invaluable for me getting the five extra qualifications that I got.

              Not to mention that I’m married and my husband has also encouraged me to continue. I’ve got three sons and they’re all very positive as well about me keep on going. In fact, my eldest one doesn’t want me to stay home and rings me everyday to see how many jobs I’ve applied for.

Speaker 1:

Good.

Dora:

I’m not good at home, to be honest with you. I find it very sad and depressing.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

If you can imagine, since you’ve been working since you were a kid-

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

It’s really sad to stay home.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Dora:

I never took time off during my pregnancies. Just three months with each child and then went back to work.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Dora:

Yeah. This is the first time. This is the longest I’ve been home.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

In my whole life.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

              Okay. So do you think you would have pursued all of the qualifications without the support of your husband and sons?

Dora:

It’s really important to have support around you.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

My household, my husband and my three kids, except for the younger one that’s still finding his way, so my husband and my two kids and their partners, they’re all qualified people.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

They’re all people that have sort of… My husband, he was born in New Zealand and he immigrated to Australia, he’s a chemist and an engineer.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

SO they’re all people that are used to study.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

So it’s not unusual that someone’s doing a course.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s good.

Dora:

I also have, apart form the courses I took with you gus, I also went and got a celebrant course.

Speaker 1:

Okay!

Dora:

I said, “what can I do when I’m older that will get me out of the house?” So I did that as well. So, to me it keeps you young, it keeps you relevant, it keeps you motivated.

Speaker 1:

It does.

Dora:

It helps you meet people.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

And, even though I haven’t met anyone face to face through your organization, just the contact that someone else is thinking about you, is trying to help you, it’s very good.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

It’s encouraging.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Definitely.

              The only reason I ask that is that only about 16% of our graduates are women and we don’t really know why because according to government statistics about 47% of the Australian workforce are women. Why is it that so few women are actually going through and converting their experience to qualifications? And we just wondered if it’s because, you know, we women sort of have a bit of a tendency of putting ourselves second behind our kids and families.

              Yeah. I’m just interested to hear from women who do go through and convert their experience into qualifications.

Dora:

I wanted to succeed but that doesn’t mean that a person that doesn’t study and has a family and decides to stay home hasn’t succeeded in their own right.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

It’s everyone’s personal choice, but I wanted to do more with my life. This sounds terrible, but I wanted to be more than a wife and a mother.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), yes.

Dora:

I didn’t want to make my children’s lives my life.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

Which is what my other did with me.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Dora:

You know, my mother… My mother’s 93, she’s still going. But, I found it very depressing so I didn’t want to do that to my children. I don’t know if it’s that she never quite learned the language and she didn’t… I was her sort of lifeline, if you like.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

And I didn’t want to do that to my children. I wanted to have something for me to put my energy in so that when my children grew up, I still had my own thing.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Because it’s their life, they should do with it what they want to instead of worrying about me.

Speaker 1:

Yes. The other side of that though is that it’s your life too, isn’t it? Being a mother is wonderful, I’ve got two sons as well, but it’s not the whole definition of us as women, is it? We’re mothers but we’re also a lot of other things as well.

Dora:

It gets to the pint of what are you going to talk about if you’re stuck at home? You know? There’s only so many news you can watch on television and so much cleaning you can do in the house. If you’re outside, you’re talking to people. One of the things that I liked when I was working in the environmental department is that I was working for an oil company, but I was still making a difference to the planet because I was looking after the environment, I was making sure people would understand that they can’t do this. That would be wrong. That they would contaminate something. I was helping people out. The health and safety side of it, I was helping people out with their safety. Making sure they didn’t get sick or exposed. So I felt like I was doing a bit of a difference out there. I was actually helping propel out.

Speaker 1:

Definitely. That’s was great.

Dora:

That’s how I saw it. If I was able to explain something to someone in delivering asbestos awareness for example, you’re telling everyone how dangerous it is to deal with asbestos and how they can protect themselves and their family. The importance of not taking heavy cloths home. The importance of how to get changed and having the right filter on your mask and things like that. To me, that’s a very important thing that needs to be done in order for people to live a healthy life.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

You feel like you’re making a difference when you love your job and I was very lucky that I’ve loved every single job I’ve had.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

I’ve always made sure that I’ve learned as much as I could at that job. Everyone at home knew that finishing up at my current job at Caltex was going to be sort of like a death in the family for me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

And it has been. It has been very very difficult to deal with. After 26 years it was like it was my home. I was involved in so much of that organizations. So many different parts. So many different projects. Very rewarding, but when it comes to and end it’s like a divorce, you know?[crosstalk 00:13:24]

Speaker 1:

Is a long time.

Dora:

It’s like a partner that doesn’t want you anymore.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Gosh, Dora that’s challenging. It is.

              So, do you have any insight into what it is that’s making it challenging to find a new job? Is it just the way the market is? Is it your age bracket? I don’t know. What are your thoughts?

Dora:

I found that while I was at Caltex, before I finished with Caltex, I was getting job offers right, left and center.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Dora:

I should have taken it. I didn’t because Cal tex encouraged me to open my own company to go back and work for them, which was a mistake. [inaudible 00:14:16] because I spent a lot of money and now no one knows that I’ve got that company so I’m just going to write off the insurance and then close it.

              For me to continue doing that job would require a lot of advertising. People don’t know me. So no one is going to give me a job in asbestos if they don’t know I can do it. Getting a job like that is not like applying for a job. It’s not like an ad you can go and apply. It’s not like that. They don’t. So I decided to pursue full-time work.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Some of it has been my age.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Another one is, when I’ve gone to recruiters they say “you can either have a company or you can pursue work. You can’t have both because if you go into that environment people might think that you have vested interest, so you can’t have both.” I think some of it might be my age. I’ve tried to only put the last 26 years when I applied for a job and they came back and they go “what did you do before that?”

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

So when I told them, they probably added up the number of years and they’ve gone “oh, she’s in her late 50’s.” Right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

So it is a question, true.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Other companies have turned around and have said to me “well, we can’t pay you. That sort of money that you asked… We can’t pay you what you would have been getting before.”

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Because the oil refinery always pay. The oil business pays more than [crosstalk 00:15:44]

              So I’ve said many times that it doesn’t matter.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative) Okay.

Dora:

Really, all I want to do is go back to work, to be honest with you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Dora:

So I am in the process of trying and some people are pretty good. THey’ll call you back. I’ve had a couple of recruitment that have called me back and they’ve said, just gently, no. [inaudible 00:16:11]

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

So it has been a challenge.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

In the last seven, eight weeks that I’ve been flat out looking everyday. I will continue. If I don’t do that, I don’t think I’ll have a happy life, because I need to be doing something. [inaudible 00:16:34] Even if I could get some charity work, but they don’t even want you to do that. With the COVID, they don’t want you to do charity work either.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Crazy times, isn’t it?

Dora:

It’s very very difficult times. Very difficult.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. Yup.

              Well I can completely understand how frustrating it is for you, Dora, but I also have no doubt that you will eventually find a really good job. I can tell that you would be such an asset to any organization.

Dora:

You’re very kind. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah. YOu’re just going to need to be patient at the moment, aren’t you?

Dora:

Well, that’s all you can-

Speaker 1:

You know that we offer resume and LinkedIn reviews, don’t you?

Dora:

No. No I didn’t know. No.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Okay.

Dora:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So obviously we do the Recognition of Prior Learning, but we are also always really just wanting to give as much help to all of our graduates as possible. One service that we do offer all our graduates is that we’ll have a look over your resume and LinkedIn profile and give you advice. So the way that works is Trisha, who is one of our co founders who has a lot of years in business and she and her husband set up virtual education and also before that she was a barrister, so she has been an extremely talented lady. So you’ll have a video chat with her and she’ll go through your resume and give you any advice on how it can be improved and also have a look at your LinkedIn profile. So, if you would like to do that, I’ll organize it with Trisha and we’ll work out a time with you and we’ll-

Dora:

Yeah that would be good. Yeah. That would be helpful.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

I went to a company called [inaudible 00:18:23] and they also provided that.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Dora:

I did have a few sessions and they did look over my resume so. The resume that you have is my old one. I sent that one because it had just about my life story, but I wouldn’t send that resume to a new job. Now, I’ve shortened it down to three pages because I don’t believe that people are going to spend more time than that.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

I’ve also been told that I shouldn’t put all of my qualifications when I apply-

Speaker 1:

Just the relevant ones.

Dora:

[crosstalk 00:18:55]

              Just short sentences as well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

Things like that. I do have a colleague who hires people and she said to me “look, if I am looking for an environmental coordinator, I look at the resume, I look for the word environment coordinator. If they haven’t done that job I just don’t even look at it.”

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

[inaudible 00:19:19] people don’t waste their time on people [crosstalk 00:19:22]

              So I’m learning bits and pieces. I’m learning as I go along.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah.

Dora:

A learning process.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Hopefully I will get something. Some sort of work.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

I’ve got good days and bad days like everybody. I’ve got days that I’ve [inaudible 00:19:41] like today.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yup.

              It sounds like you’ve already gotten some good advice, but if you’d like our thoughts on your resume, if you send me your latest resume-

Dora:

I will.

Speaker 1:

And you’re LinkedIn profile link, I’ll forward it to Trisha and we’ll arrange a time. I’m sure that she’ll have other really useful tips for you. Every little bit helps, doesn’t it?

Dora:

No problem. No problem at all. If I can help any other woman-

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

I’ve actually got a couple of colleagues that I used to work with and I said “if I were you, I’d apply for these [inaudible 00:20:25] with this company because it can help you in the future.” Not many people. There was only one persona at work that knew about you and they told me and I think they told a couple of other people at Cal tex as well.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Dora:

Yeah. It was fantastic. It was actually, the gentlemen that told me about you guys, he was the occupational [00:20:56] nurse. HE’s actually a qualified RN who went into Caltex as the RN for the site.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Then stayed as part of the project. He needed extra qualifications to do all that bits and pieces.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

How’d he find out about you guys, I’m not sure. Then one day we’re chatting and I said “I’m running out of time, I won’t be able to get some of the things I want done.” And he said, “what are you looking for?” So I explained to him and he said “well maybe they can help you.”

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Yeah. So, yeah. I’m very very grateful that that happened. If anything, I’ll be honest with you, even if, for whatever reason because you don’t know what’s going to happen, I don’t end up working is till feel like I’ve achieved something and I’ve got some recognition for some of the hard work I did. Going through cleaning up, because I’ve gpt a lot of time to clean up. Cleaning up a lot of my paperwork I have found so many in house work courses at Cal tex. So many like negotiation skills, and taproot. When you have an incident, how to find out how the incident happened. The list goes on and on because Cal tex use to really train their people out quite a lot. So I had so much in house training and done so much courses and I applied that to the relevant courses that I was doing. It’s good to end up with some recognition for all that.

Speaker 1:

Definitely. Otherwise it can feel like you’ve done all this work and done all this training and you’ve got all these skills and you’ve got nothing to show for it. It’s a wonderful thing to be recognized.

Dora:

It is, but the one thing I would advise people-

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

Which I have always say, especially to my sons, is: if you’ve done something really good in a job, you’ve got to keep notes. You’ve got to keep some relevant notes. One day, they turn around and they go “sorry. You’re finished. You’re account is terminated and you cannot get anything back.”

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

It all goes [inaudible 00:23:03] and it’s all forgotten.

              I was lucky that I was one of those people that like to print, the old fashioned person, so I always had a copy of what I did. So I was lucky that way. Otherwise I would not have hold a lot of the information I was able to give you guys.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

So that helped me a lot. If anything, keeping information is very very important. But, in saying that, I did throw out 26 boxes of rubbish that I had which was irrelevant.

Speaker 1:

Oh gosh.

Dora:

There’s only so much information you can keep.

Speaker 1:

So the outside for all of this is that you’re filing is in really good order at the moment.

Dora:

Oh yeah. I’m very proud.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that’s good.

              Okay Dora, just one more question. I’m currently concluding a project management industry report and I know that that is one of the qualifications that you received.

Dora:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Can you tell me anything about your experience in roles that have included project management? Any insights?

Dora:

One of the ones I did, and actually if you go into Google and Google my name you will find this is relevant to that. 2007 I thin it was. 2008. Somewhere in there. Cal tex wasn’t recycling anything and they realized that we used to have hundreds of different waste. Because you’re talking sometimes up to 3000 people in one site. Things that you couldn’t even think. So they were looking for someone to take up a project of looking at the waste that the site created so that was one oft he projects that I managed and I was able to save over $2 million in one year.

Speaker 1:

Wow!

Dora:

One of the things we did is that we introduced a very simple recycling system of separating the cardboard, the metal, the cans, and the food. So we installed a worm farm on site and we used what they call [inaudible 00:25:22]

              for the operators at the time. So we decided to, well I came up with the idea of[inaudible 00:25:29]. So we used to collect them all into certain areas of the site and once a month someone would pick them up, take them to a place where they would be washed, and then come back. With that we’re recycling clothing instead of throwing the clothing that people didn’t want when they left. So it’s washed and the logos are taken out and it’s donated to the homeless. We had a lot of [inaudible 00:25:51] because we had a plant that we used to, the part where you run the [inaudible 00:25:58] has to be hot with steam so we always had leaks so we used to collect the [inaudible 00:26:03] So I found a company that could actually take that material. I worked with them and they started reprocessing all that materials so it wouldn’t have to go to landfills so you wouldn’t have to pay on that.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

We had big reactors and the material from the reactors used to be sent offsite to be [inaudible 00:26:25] onto landfills which was [inaudible 00:26:28] fixative into cement. So I looked into that process and how we could perhaps do some of that work on our site. So we went from spending about $150,000 per reactor to about $6-7,000 a year by doing the work ourselves. So that was a very big project that I really really enjoyed.

              Another project that I did many many years before that was I worked in a laboratory in Sydney and, that was when I was in the glass industry, and moved to Victoria so I was asked to run the setup of the laboratory in Victoria. [inaudible 00:27:05] So we found a suitable building and the laboratory in Sydney [inaudible 00:27:11] was very old and didn’t have the right pipes for the gasses. It was all a bit of a hoax. Like an old house that you’re trying to make due in. So we started from scratch. We had the right benches. [inaudible 00:27:25] We had the right pipes. We had everything that would comply from the word go, which was great.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

So I’ve been involved in a few big projects that involve quite a bit of money.

              The demolition was a huge one. We’re talking about a $219 million demolition in [inaudible 00:27:50] in Sydney. I was part of that and one of my main things was making sure that we got rid of all the waste that was generated and that it went to the right locations, it was disposed of properly, and that whatever we could recycle on site with EPA approval we would and do it safely. We had no environmental contamination, no issues, no safety issues. It was a very successful demolition. I’ve got some stats for you if you want. It was over 400 people that started off with the demolition[crosstalk 00:28:32]

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Dora:

We ended up with [inaudible 00:28:38]. The main thing is we had no environmental issues. We used to do audits everyday making sure that we complied with everything. That there was no issues with excavations. There was no runoff. That the excavations were covered and taken care of because you didn’t want a little animal that came through the night and get stuck in there so you had to check in the morning.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

You had to make sure there was no dust because we’re very close to the community. We had to make sure the noise because the site has a license so you have to make sure you comply with that license.

              SO I have been involved in very big projects and I used to be part of all the shutdowns as well. So that used to be throughout every time we had a shutdown. Sometimes we had one or two a year sometimes up to three.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Dora:

So the environmental and the training.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Dora:

So you’ve got people on the site and they don’t know the site so you have to induct them.[crosstalk 00:29:37] facility. You’re dealing with a load of [inaudible 00:29:39]. What they can and cannot do. Where they can park a vehicle. [crosstalk 00:29:46] The requirements of the clothing. What the emergency alarm. That kind of thing.

              Then you have to try the environmental side of things. What they can and cannot put down the drain. How to separate the waste. How to mix things.[crosstalk 00:30:07]

Speaker 1:

Wow. Wow.

Dora:

There’s quite a lot.

Speaker 1:

Wow Dora. Sounds like you’ve got an amazing wealth of experience.

Dora:

So I feel like, with my knowledge, I should be able to get another job somewhere.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

              Yeah I think it’s just tough times across the board. You’ve got some amazing qualifications and experience and now the skill right now that we all need to be employing is patience and tenacity.

Dora:

You probably notice I’m not shy either.

Speaker 1:

No.

Dora:

Sometime I have a bit of trouble delivering because there are days that the tongue doesn’t want to work properly.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Oh really?[crosstalk 00:30:57]

Dora:

But apart form that I’ll have a go at anything and if I don’t know something, I’ll learn it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

And I keep on going.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

[crosstalk 00:31:08]

              The only downside would be my age. That’s about it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah well, it’s not fair, is it? We see this quite a lot, which is the nature of the Recognition of Prior Learning Vocational Education is that, in order to be awarded these qualifications, you need the experience. So it tends to be people with a lot of years of experience but not necessarily qualifications. So they have all of these amazing skills, much more qualified than a younger person. But we do seem to unfortunately live in an ageist society, don’t we? It’s seems unfair and not right because the more experience someone’s got then the better they are for the job.

Dora:

I’m going to tell you, this is across the board. I’ve got an elderly mother.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

Since she turned 80-

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

It’s been a [inaudible 00:32:06] to keep her alive.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Every time I’ve gone into a hospital or have gone to a doctor it’s always the same thing: how old is your mom? And then what do you expect? And it becomes the argument on my side. I always have to say “well, if it was you or if it was your mother, would you just let it go?” She’s still here and she always says “I’m only alive because you always fight with everybody.” I’ve taken her to hospitals and no treatment. So then I have to take her home and take her somewhere else. Sadly, you get to an age where you’re expendable. You can see what’s happening in Victoria with the nursing homes. It sounds terrible, but it’s almost like this virus is cleaning out our society of the oldest generation.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, It does seem a bit like that doesn’t it.

Dora:

Yeah. I say to them “you’re going to be old one day.” [crosstalk 00:33:02]

              It’s almost like there’s no respect. I grew up with learning that you have to respect people. In fact, my very first job, I used to call my boss sir and one day he said “for goodness sake Dora, I haven’t been knighted!”

              But that’s the way I grew up.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Respect.

Dora:

That’s something we don’t have a lot of these days.

Speaker 1:

It’s a dying art isn’t it.

Dora:

It is, yeah. It is.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Women, it doesn’t matter what shape, color, or nationality you are. If you’re willing to learn, if you’re willing to be out there, if you’re willing to, I don’t know. You’re going to have setbacks. I have had an incredible, incredible number of setbacks. If I told you the setbacks I had. If you can imagine, I’m a very short, sort of tubby sort of person, not the best looking woman in the world, in a company that has got 99% male and you’ve got to stand in front of two or three hundred men and deliver some training, it’s quite hard to get their attention.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

It took me a long time to work it out. So you always used to start off with a joke.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Dora:

Make a bit of fun of myself, make them laugh, and the get their attention and take it from there.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Dora:

So I always had to find a way. I always had to work twice as hard as the males.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

In meetings, to get heard, I had to work twice as hard as a male. I had to work harder than the male.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

I would finish work and get home and do two or three hours work at home to be ready for the next day so I was always ahead of them otherwise I would not have been able to succeed.

              In some areas it was also a very Anglo-Saxon area, the area that I worked, the location of the site[inaudible 00:35:10].

              Also, this was a site where just about everyone in management had a degree. So I was very lucky that I got a job in there and I got a job in there mainly because of my interview.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Because I worked in there for two years as a contractor and then they decided to put some people on permanent and the interview was knowledge based.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

I knew every single question. At the end of the interview I asked “how’d it go?” And I said, “before you tell me you’re going to let know that you would-” I took a gamble and said that if I didn’t get the job now, I insisted I was done. I could apply again. “I’m going to let you know now that if you come back with that answer that you will not see me again.”

Speaker 1:

Sorry, can you say that again Dora?

Dora:

I told them at my interview for becoming permanent that if I wasn’t good enough for them after two years of working for them as a contractor, I would never be good enough.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

Because after two years, I’m not going to change. What else do you want to learn about me?

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

I’m going to insist that either you give me a job or say goodbye.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Dora:

And they looked at me and said “no, no. You’ve got the job.” It was a gamble that I took.

Speaker 1:

Yes. Yeah.

Dora:

I was tired of being put on behind everybody all the time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yup.

Dora:

Sometimes you have to show that you’re strong enough to take it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah.

Dora:

If you play the card… I never played the card that I was a migrant.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

I never played the card that I was a woman.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

I always played the card that I’m the same as everybody else. Why shouldn’t I have the same opportunities as everyone else?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely.

Dora:

Some women, sometimes are a bit timid. They’re afraid of being rude. But you should never be afraid to speak your mind up.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative) Yeah.

Dora:

That’s the way that I brought up my children as well. I taught them in that way.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

Be polite. Always be polite. However [crosstalk 00:37:26] to say “this is who I am, this is what I can give you, this is what I can deliver for you. Why are you overlooking me?”

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative) mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

MY eldest child once came to me, he was in high school, and he was very upset with his teacher. He said, “this is not right. Look at the mark I got for this project.”

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

I said to him, “why are you telling me? I can’t change that mark for you. Go back to your teacher, [inaudible 00:37:50] and say ‘why did I get this mark when I think I deserve this mark.'”

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

“But don’t go just with that. You have to have the idea to give him the reasons why you think you should get what you should get.” And he did it, and it worked. That was really good for him because from then on he learned to fight his battles.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). So did he get his mark changed?

Dora:

He did.

Speaker 1:

Oh wow! What a great story.

Dora:

You should never give up.

Speaker 1:

Sounds like he’s got an amazing mother.

Dora:

I just really don’t believe in giving up. I had a manager, a lady who was very tough and I learned a lot from her. One of the biggest compliments she ever gave me was that I was very resilient.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Dora:

“When things go wrong Dora you look like it’s the end of the world, by the end of the day you look like you’re gone. I don’t know how you do it, but you come back the next day and you’re new.”[crosstalk 00:38:51]

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Aww. Good on you Dora.

Dora:

It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Speaker 1:

Never give up. That’s a great belief. Never give up.

Dora:

You have to. You have to keep on going.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Definitely.

Dora:

I probably learned that from migrating. From being a migrant. You know?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.[crosstalk 00:39:21]

Dora:

My parents came out here for a better life for me because my dad had a very good job and he really didn’t have to do anything for his future, but my mother was worried about me. So I couldn’t let them down. That’s what I’ve always said, “I’ve got to do better.” The few times that I wanted to quit [inaudible 00:39:42] try again.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I bet they’re really proud of you.

Dora:

Yes, my father was very proud of me and so is my mom.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah.

Dora:

Well I hope you[crosstalk 00:39:53]

Speaker 1:

So helpful Dora. I’ll get this interview transcribed.  So sorry about this clicking noise. I don’t know why that’s happening.

Dora:

That’s fine.

Speaker 1:

Sorry about that. So I’ll write this up into a story and I’ll send it to you and you can tell me if you want anything changed and then, once you’re happy with it, I’ll put it up on our website.

Dora:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

I’ll make it [inaudible 00:40:21] a good story on you as well. You can use it. I’ll put it on your LinkedIn so it can become a bit of a career asset for you. You’re a woman who’s clearly had an incredible amount of experience and made a big difference to the organizations that you’ve worked for. [inaudible 00:40:45] given you qualifications. As well as that, it sounds like you’ve got some really wonderful ethics and morals. Those are the things that make good humans aside from qualifications and experience that’s the other bit that really matters, isn’t it?

Dora:

It is. It’s about helping people as well, you know?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

We had a very sad incident once at Caltex. I was working and a person lost his legs. It was an accident [inaudible 00:41:24]. It was a young person with two young children. So it was kind of going who’s going to pay up, [inaudible 00:41:36], this and the other stuff. At that time, I did a little work with different companies. Companies that worked with compensate to look after it. To look after projects managers and their work. So I got on the phone and I rang every single person that I knew and I said, “look, I’m trying to run[inaudible 00:41:58].” We managed to collect a lot of money and then come up with as much money as we had collected. So we were able to give his family a very big tip of money.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Dora:

We had a very big impact on this person’s life. I like to think that I had a little bit to do with that. To help him out.

              It’s about trying to give something back. It’s not all about you. If I’m stuck at home, yes I’m making a difference probably in helping my husband because he comes home and the clothes are clean and dinner is ready and my kids are- But it’s not out there. I could do a bit more than just my family.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dora:

At the same time, I’m keeping busy and I don’t become a menace at home.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, good on you, Dora.

Dora:

Thank you very much and take care of yourself.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you too. Don’t forget to send me your resume and your LinkedIn URL and I’ll talk to Trisha. Would you mind sending me a picture of you so I can use it with the article?

Dora:

Sure. No worries.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I would be grateful.

Dora:

Would you give me a couple of days to sort all this out?

Speaker 1:

Yeah! Absolutely. It’ll probably take me a couple of weeks to write it up.

Dora:

No worries.

Speaker 1:

So there’s no urgency, but send me your resume and LinkedIn when you can and I’ll organize a time for you with Trisha.

Dora:

No problem. ‘Cause most of my pictures that I’ve got, my professional pictures, are all from Caltex and it would probably be better not to have one from Caltex-

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Dora:

Yeah. Thank you so much. Have a lovely day.

Speaker 1:

Thanks Dora. You too.

Dora:

Bye.

Speaker 1:

Bye.

 

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