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Inspirational trainee from Baptistcare Yallambee in the running for national training award

Chidlow’s Caitlin Bezuidenhout was nominated for her compassion and dedication to enriching the lives of seniors by the team at Baptistcare Yallambee in Mundaring.

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23 September 2022

News | BaptistCare

Pursuing a childhood dream to contribute positive change in the aged care sector has seen Chidlow’s Caitlin Bezuidenhout named WA’s Vocational Student of the Year for 2022.

The 17-year-old aspiring nurse was nominated for her compassion and dedication to enriching the lives of seniors by the team at Baptistcare Yallambee Residential Care in Mundaring where she undertook her work placement this year.

Caitlin will now go on to represent the State at the Australian Training Awards to be announced in Adelaide on Friday 18 November.

Watching her beloved grandmother’s experience of residential aged care in her hometown in South Africa left an indelible impression on then nine-year-old Caitlin.

“There was one nurse who was not only my nanna’s caregiver but became her best friend,” said Caitlin.

“This had a positive impact on my nan’s quality of life in her final years and it inspired me to follow in her footsteps with the aim of bringing joy to the lives of older people.”

In addition to her studies at Eastern Hills Senior High School, Caitlin has completed a Certificate IV in Preparation for Health and Nursing studies through Health Science Hub and a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) through Australian Medical Association WA.

She cites the hands-on opportunity to develop her skills through a work placement as a Care Partner at Baptistcare Yallambee as invaluable.

“I found the team members extremely supportive and very willing to pass on their knowledge and skills to me,” said Caitlin.

“Caring for seniors is my happy place as it connects me to my grandmother.”

It was Caitlin’s strong work ethic and genuine passion for aged care that prompted Baptistcare Yallambee’s Residential Care Manager, Tiana Connor, to enter her into this year’s WA Training Awards.

“Caitlin is extremely compassionate and is always eager to learn and practice new techniques,” said Tiana.

“She became an integral member of our team and is much loved by both her Baptistcare colleagues and the residents.”

Caitlin is honoured to be representing WA in the national awards and hopes her experience will change the perception of Vocational Education and Training (VET) pathways in schools.

“VET shouldn’t be deemed as an easier alternative to ATAR. It requires hard work and prepares students with real world experience and qualifications.”