Mother of three, Sibylla, accessed funding from the government’s Certificate III Guarantee scheme to launch her new flexible career as a medical receptionist.

She began a Certificate III in Business (Medical) after attending the CareerSmart Mums workshops, and is now employed as a part-time receptionist at a radiology clinic. And she’s loving it.

The job involves all the things Sibylla enjoys – administration work, dealing with a mix of people, and being part of a great team.

Coming from a legal administration background, Sibylla had an inkling that this was the type of role for her. But, having been out of the permanent workforce since 2009, she was feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of hunting for a new job. It was especially daunting because she is originally from South Africa, and was not familiar with the local job market.

Sibylla credits the CareerSmart Mums workshop with helping to identify a role with a good fit, and giving her the resources and practical knowledge to investigate training and career options. “The workshops included really good exercises to figure out what I would be good at. Most of my results pointed to social work or medical administration. So that reinforced what was in the back of my head, and gave me confidence that this would be a good pathway for me,” Sibylla says.

Following the CareerSmart Mums program, Sibylla enrolled in a Certificate III Business (Medical) that includes a five-day short course based at the Wesley Hospital and the University of Queensland. The rest of her study can be completed over a six to twelve month period, and the majority of it is online. This was great because she could fit in her study around her family.

And her work arrangements fit with family commitments too. “Working the four days a week has been great. And the team are all mums, so they’re very understanding and flexible. We all support each other, and that makes my job all the more enjoyable.”

Since heading back to work, Sibylla also says her family have really stepped up to share the load of running the household. She relies on a mix of child-care from neighbours, before and after school care, and co-ordinating schedules with her husband. “It’s hard work, but I have really good support around me,” she says. Having a job close-by to her home has made a big difference too. “Working for a local centre was one of my main criteria when I was searching for a job,” Sibylla reveals. “The short drive to work makes it really convenient with picking up and dropping off kids.”

Sibylla is due to complete her studies soon, and says that the Certificate III has been a great help in landing her dream job. “The Certificate III Guarantee funding has made my studies affordable. And it really opened doors for me when I began looking for a job. Without doing the CareerSmart Mums program, I wouldn’t have known this was available to someone like me.”

CareerSmart Mums gave me confidence in myself as a human being. By learning in such an open and supportive environment with other women who were also in my situation, I began to recognise how much we all had to offer. It made me realise that I could pursue my hopes and dreams too.”


Donna Thistlethwaite is passionate about providing career help for mums. She is the professional careers coach behind CareerSmart Mums, a workshop that offers return-to-work mums the practical and motivational help they need to pursue a career that they love. For more information, and to join the CareerSmart Mums network, visit