Skip to main content
Menu Menu

Spotlight on Community Services - Naomi’s journey from Chef to Youth Worker

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

27 October 2023

Naomi Rigby has always had a drive to make a difference in the lives of young people. In her job at South Metropolitan TAFE (SM TAFE) she plays an important role in helping and supporting others in times of need.

Ms Rigby is an SM TAFE graduate and a lecturer in Youth Work. She also works at a local high school in the integral role of Student Support Coordinator.

A chef for 16 years, her journey into youth work began during her time leading the kitchen, while also working with youth at risk, mentoring and guiding them towards gaining hospitality industry work experience. Ms Rigby had discovered her passion for supporting young people so, she walked into the SM TAFE Armadale campus to learn about career pathways in Youth Work.

The following day, she enrolled into the CHC42015 Certificate IV in Community Services course. The qualification equips students with job-ready skills to support the community in the roles of outreach officer or welfare support worker; providing assistance to others who are vulnerable, at risk or in crisis.

Ms Rigby went on to complete a CHC40421 Certificate IV in Youth Work and the CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services. She achieved her qualifications whilst employed full-time at a local high school working with young people, families and the community to address barriers to education.

In addition to her role at the high school  she returned to SM TAFE in 2023 as a casual lecturer for Youth Work and Community Services and the wider team is thrilled to have her onboard to inspire students through her journey and expertise.  

Ms Rigby says that one of the most fulfilling aspects of her role within the Community Services sector is being able to build connections with some of the most vulnerable people and communities.

“Being a support to others whilst they navigate social, economic, systemic, health and wellbeing barriers, needs and advocacy is by far the best job and when we are talking about people in need, for whatever reason, it’s an incredibly important industry,” Ms Rigby said.

Working with people to improve personal outcomes and empowering individual and community development is so rewarding. Also being a casual lecturer with SM TAFE means I get to guide new workers into industry and share my knowledge and passion.”

Ms Rigby was a finalist for Vocational Student of the Year in the 2022 WA Training Awards and has been instrumental in developing the resilience building program, XLR8, which she delivers in her role at the high school. Students undertaking CHC42015 Certificate IV in Community Services are actively involved in the facilitation of XLR8 and gain practical skills in building rapport with young people.

 “My advice to anyone thinking of studying Community Services is to go for it! Give one hundred and ten percent, because what you put into it is what you will get out of it.” Ms Rigby said.

“I cherished my learning journey as an SM TAFE student. I have met so many incredible people, who are now colleagues and friends. Studying with SM TAFE has not only provided me with core skills and industry relevant qualifications, it has also enriched my life professionally and personally,” she says.

To find out more about study pathways in Community Services visit Community Services | South Metropolitan TAFE (