TAFE and tresses empower Sherrie’s career

30 June 2024
Two women standing in front of desk and flower display
Sherrie Price and Danielle Roberston

By Tiahna Fiddling

Sherrie Price brushed up her skills and styled her career with CQUniversity’s Certificate I and II in Information, Digital Media and Technology.

After completing the CQU TAFE courses in 2021, Sherrie secured a role a local hair salon where the Mackay resident utilses her newfound skills to support client services.

As Sherrie lives with down syndrome, the courses helped support the 31-year-old with fundamental knowledge and digital literacy in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

“I really love my job. It’s great,” Sherrie said. 

I want to be the best Salon Assistant ever. CQU has helped me to always be the best I can be.

“It’s nice to spoil clients by making them tea or coffee, and chat to them. I like doing all my jobs, tidying and cleaning and making things easier for Danielle. It’s always a happy place too.”

DMR Hair Residence owner Danielle Robertson said Sherrie has become an invaluable part of the business, bringing her a unique blend of warmth and technical expertise. 

“Sherrie has bought a spark of life into my business I didn’t know it needed. My clients are obsessed with her and most days more excited to see her then myself,” Danielle explained. 

“All my clients love having a chat with her while waiting, which gives Sherrie confidence also to communicate with clients.”

“With Sherrie’s help around salon, she has given me the passion back to focus on creating hair. She truly is my life saver. I don’t know how I did it all without her.   

“Every day I write Sherrie’s jobs on a list out the back on the fridge. Her regular tasks include washing and sorting client towels and capes, resetting cutting stations after a client has left, greeting, and asking the clients if they would like a beverage, plus providing it, unpacking stock, organising and cleaning retail shelves. 

“On a rare occasion is a baby whisper or puppy sitter!”

Sherrie’s employment was facilitated by Mylestones Mackay Disability Employment Services alongside her Disability Support Worker (DSW) Gerri Kissner, who have been instrumental in setting her up to succeed in the workplace. 

“I believe we should all have the same opportunities in life regardless of whether a disability is visible or not. Success is so much meaningful when you are giving it back to your community,” Danielle said.

“I was lucky enough that Sherrie’s disability support worker, Gerri was a long-term client of mine and suggested her for the role.

“Once you show Sherrie what to do and she does it a few times she is capable of operating on her own. Very rarely will need prompting or help from a DSW to carry out a task.”

Having worked with Sherrie for nine years, Gerri said she is proud to see her progress over the years, both in her studies and role at the salon.

“The course at CQU definitely developed Sherrie’s confidence and self-esteem. 

“I will often remind her that how she was scared to do anything at the beginning of her course but with practice she can master anything.”

Sherrie also receives support from her additional DSW Veronica and Jeneane.

Sherrie’s mother Judie Price said she is grateful for everyone who has championed for her daughter’s success - from her teachers at CQU, to her support workers and colleagues and clients at DMR.

“She is so lucky to be surrounded by so many people who support and encourage her to learn and grow and be the best she can in everything she does,” Judie said.

“Sherrie has always been a social person and this position is so suitable for her.”

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