Hats off to Billie

A young woman is grooming a horse inside a stable.

Billie now has her dream job, after completing a Youth Jobs PaTH internship as a Transition to Work participant.

This story was first published on Monday 3 September 2018. If you wish to use this content, please contact media@dese.gov.au to confirm that the information is still current.

Youth Jobs PaTH internships are working for Transition to Work participants, creating opportunities for more young people to get into work.

More than 64,000 young people aged 15 to 21 years have received Transition to Work assistance since its introduction in 2016. The service assists early school leavers or disengaged young people with intensive support to re-engage with education, training and employment.

Young people who leave school early can feel lost, especially if they do not have the right guidance in place. Transition to Work provides young people with tailored assistance and support to build their confidence, self-belief and helps them pursue further education or take up an apprenticeship, traineeship or a job.

Billie Burnham’s life was turned around after meeting Natalie McIvor from BUSY At Work, a provider of Transition to Work services on the Sunshine Coast. Natalie introduced Billie to the idea of doing a Youth Jobs PaTH internship to pursue her passion of working with horses. After Billie completed her internship, she was hired at Horses and Humans as a stable hand. Natalie also helped Billie to enrol in a Diploma in Rural Operations and Equine Services and Billie says she’s never been happier.

‘There's nothing else that makes me feel so calm than working with horses. And it's knowing that I have 10 to 13 horses to work with and play with every day. They're beautiful horses, you couldn't ask for more well behaved and trained horses,’ Billie said.

‘I just love knowing that I can identify things that are wrong with them, and know what to look for and be able to ride like a good dressage rider.’

BUSY At Work also supported Billie with work expenses, transport, applications and enrolment forms. Natalie still keeps in regular contact with Billie.

‘When I first met Billie, she told me that her life was bad, it was never going to be any different. It makes me really emotional, because she is just the most amazing showcase person for this service, we can make such a massive difference with youth and she's shown that,’ Natalie said.

‘Billie blossomed really fast, we barely had any glitches at all.’ Natalie added that Billie felt very supported and was optimistic about her future.  

Natalie stayed in constant contact with Billie’s employer, Matty Sormani, the owner of Horses and Humans and an equestrian specialist, to make sure things were going well during the PaTH internship. Matty was impressed with Billie’s work ethic.

‘Billie very quickly showed that she was very dedicated and interested in what we were doing, and convinced me that she was going to be an outstanding employee. I had no qualms about that at all,’ Matty said.

‘Billie's been a real inspiration, really, in having known her for some time and knowing the challenges that she's overcome. She's transitioned from being a child with a lot of challenges, and she's grown and developed and learned from those experiences,’ Natalie said.

‘She's made a lot of changes in her life. We're very proud of her and we think that she'll go a long way in whatever endeavour she undertakes. Hats off to Billie.’

And Billie is not looking back.

‘I love my job here… the horses that I work with and I'm outside every day in this beautiful arena that I ride in everyday. It's just awesome, I love it so much.’

Billie has a new positive outlook on life, a new sense of herself, and is surrounded by people who make her feel confident and supported.

Find out more about Transition to Work.

Find out more about Youth Jobs PaTH.

Watch Billie's story on the resource page or on YouTube.

Correct at time of publication.