Madi's award for TAFE studies

AWARD WINNER: Madison Smith-Garbutt hopes one day to open her own pharmacy.
AWARD WINNER: Madison Smith-Garbutt hopes one day to open her own pharmacy.

A YOUNG woman described by her teacher as "a great role model to other young Aboriginal women and to her community" has been awarded a TAFE NSW Aboriginal Gili award.

Madison Smith-Garbutt completed a school-based traineeship in Community Pharmacy with Blooms Chemist in Lismore. She received the award, which celebrates the achievements of Aboriginal TAFE students, at a ceremony in Sydney last week.

Through a difficult time at school in years 11 and 12, during which she was bullied and bashed, Madi kept up the traineeship with the aim of gaining a good qualification.

"I enjoyed the pharmacy course more than I enjoyed school!" Madi admitted. "I took a while to discover where I wanted to be; but when I'd completed the course and finished my first pharmacy job in Lismore (with Blooms the Chemist), I thought 'This is it! I'm all grown up now and I want to be where I can love my employers and the people I work with'.

"Discount Pharmacy (in Woodlark Street) gave me an interview and the boss and I really clicked; she made me feel part of the team before I had even joined the team."

Madi is no stranger to taking care of herself; she left home at 14 and at 15 had a full-time job in a butchery; then she returned to school and worked part-time in a fast food outlet. Her aim now is to travel to a mining district next year with her partner, work hard and save enough money to put herself through university.

"I'd like to own my own pharmacy by the time I'm 30," the 19-year old told The Echo.

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