Prior to joining ANU in July of 2018 in a 12 month position as an Indigenous trainee, Taejana Allan was convinced that she'd never get into university. Ironically, however, in a way she did.
Taejana, who has been based in the Human Resources Division (HR), has been learning the administrative functions involved with helping to manage a large organisation's HR. She initially started in the Equity and Diversity team before moving into the Training and Administrative team where she has been since January 2019.
"I thought that was kind of ironic in a way because originally I did want to go to university but I never did the best in school," she says.
"My careers teacher did say to me, 'look, you're probably not going to get into university at this rate' and I said 'ok cool, I'll just do something else'. So I just wanted to work and build up skills.
"Just thinking that I got a job at the ANU when I never thought that I could get into university meant that, in a way, I kind of got into university after all."
Taejana, who is from the New South Wales town of Quirindi, is from the Kamilaroi tribe on her grandfather's side and Ngunnawal tribe on her grandmother's. She was raised in a mission that had previously been set up to keep the local Aboriginal people separate from the rest of the community. She still has some family who live there, although many family members have since left.
"It's still considered home, down in the mission at Quirindi, but having lived in Canberra so long I now consider here more my home," she says.
Asked if she has considered studying at ANU as well as working for the University, Taejana says "I've considered it."
"I just don't know what I would study at this point. As well as working at ANU, I did night school with the Canberra Makeup Academy studying my Diploma of Screen and Media, and as well as the traineeship I had also been studying my Cert III in Business.
"My plan from now is to continue working at ANU as well as, on the side, starting my own freelance makeup business."
Taejana is a finalist for the 2019 ACT Indigenous Trainee of the Year award, which will be announced in September. If she's successful, she'll represent the ACT in the National Indigenous Trainee of the Year Awards to be held in Brisbane later this year.
"I couldn't thank everyone in my team at ANU enough for encouraging me to stay on the path of completing my traineeship," Taejana says.
"I have not only come into a beautiful environment but have also made friends who I cherish and love to be around."
Even while she was quiet and didn't say a word during meetings, Taejana says the team still made her thoughts heard and valued her opinions.
"Through the ups and downs of going through my traineeship I have learnt so much about work and life from my co-workers, supervisor and other members of the HR Division, and couldn't thank them enough for all they have done for me," she says.
For more information on the Indigenous traineeship opportunities that ANU offers, head to https://services.anu.edu.au/human-resources/respect-inclusion/aboriginal-torres-strait-islander-employment/anu-indigenous