Ramon Munnich never thought his career would take him all the way to the theatre – the operating theatre.
The 22 year-old has completed a traineeship at Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH), earning a Certificate 3 - Health Services Assistant with a specific skill set as an operating theatre technician.
Ramon began his traineeship last year after he took part in the hospital’s pre-employment and work experience programs for indigenous people. The programs are a pathway to a traineeship in areas such as theatre, pharmacy, patient services, allied health, business or IT.
Ramon chose theatre because it was a “new experience”.
“Most of my mates are builders and bricklayers,” he said. “They thought I was going to end up as a tradie like them, so they were really surprised when they found out I worked in surgery.”
As a theatre technician, Ramon helps to position patients correctly on the operating table and looks after their wellbeing before their surgery. He also ensures the equipment the surgeon requires is in position and working correctly and he assists the anaesthetists and nurses.
The Certificate 3 course was delivered by Chisholm Institute whose trainers travelled to LRH regularly to check on Ramon’s progress.
Chisholm Institute trainer and assessor, Chandra Grimley said the courses were tailored to the student’s learning abilities and the facility in which they worked.
“Because Ramon was in theatre every day, his skills developed quickly,” she said.
“These programs are quite different because the training is delivered off-site rather than in one of our classrooms so it’s important the trainees have a strong support network and mentors around them.”
One of Ramon’s mentors is LRH Close the Gap trainee coordinator, Shelley Wirken. Shelley works closely with Latrobe City Council to engage with the local Aboriginal community and identify people who might be interested in a career in the health sector. She said the traineeship program at LRH was designed to provide real job opportunities.
"We certainly don’t want someone to take up a traineeship for a position that doesn’t come up very often or where there aren’t many jobs,” Shelley said. “These traineeships are in positions that not only become vacant at LRH but other health services or organisations as well.”
Ramon however is content to stay on at LRH in a full-time role.
"Everyone was welcoming so it’s made it a lot easier to be part of the team in theatre,” he said.
Ramon is now considering combining work with more study – possibly a certificate in anaesthetic technology.