Darren's Story

Leading by example makes it easy for others to follow

Award-winning Inverell Community College student Darren Finn is taking on his next challenge—a qualification in training and assessment.

Darren is a proud Kamilaroi man who aspires to be a strong leader within his community, following in the footsteps of his grandmother, Pauline Bartholomew. A World Martial Arts title winner and 3-time Australian Boxing Champion in three weight divisions in three sanctioning bodies, Darren is no stranger to winning titles. He now manages a not-for-profit martial arts and fitness centre in Inverell that he says is "really all about changing lives."

Darren’s plan to become a qualified trainer and assessor is fuelled by the same desire to help others. "You’re always going to have obstacles in life. It’s just what you do and how you apply yourself that makes the difference between winning and losing."

  • Realising he wanted more from life and feeling he had more to give, Darren refused to give up. He applied five times for his current role as New Careers for Aboriginal People Mentor before finally being offered the job! As a requirement of this role Darren needed to complete a Certificate IV-level qualification. He enrolled in the Certificate IV in Frontline Management—an online course—but was unsuccessful in completing the training.

    More determined than ever, Darren then enrolled in the Certificate IV in Community Services at the Inverell Community College. It wasn’t too long before his hard work and determination paid off—with support from the college he overcame a lot of challenges to earn his first formal qualification.

    Now empowered, Darren was able to take a more proactive approach to helping his mob by guiding them to further study that would lead to employment. Darren’s experience with vocational education and training gave him an understanding he could use to guide and support his clients and the wider community through career planning and study.

  • "The biggest challenge is not giving up. The secret to building resilience is to understand that where there is a will there is a way."

    Darren has since gone on to complete a Certificate IV in Fitness and has opened a not-for-profit martial arts fitness centre specialising in programs for disengaged youth.

    Last year, Darren received the 2018 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year award in the NSW Regional State Training Awards.

    Darren’s next challenge is to complete the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment at Inverell Community College. Darren believes that if you lead by example, others will follow, and he plans to use the training and assessment qualification to live by his motto.

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