Eighteen year old Montana Ah-Won has gone from strength to strength in her hospitality apprenticeship in Western Australia’s East Kimberley.
Karina Marlow

8 Jul 2016 - 10:04 PM  UPDATED 9 Jul 2016 - 12:21 AM

Montana, a Miriwoong Gajeroong woman, persevered through family tragedy at a young age to study at Kununurra District High School and board at the prestigious St Brigid’s College in Perth where she was a Student Council Representative. Leaving school early she started a hospitality pre-employment program with the Kimberley Training Group in 2014 and has not looked back.

After excelling in the course and completing her Certificate I in Hospitality, she began a traineeship at the Hotel Kununurra in February 2015. The diverse workplace gave Montana the opportunity to practice her hospitality skills in the restaurant, work in housekeeping and achieve her Certificate II in Hospitality.

“It is a really good experience and I am learning a lot in my first real job,” Montana told the Kimberley Training Group.

She added that her favourite part of the traineeship so far had been working for a week at the luxurious 5-star Berkeley River Lodge.

Montana’s main aim for the traineeship was to gain experience in hospitality and to boost her confidence in herself. She also was active in showing new Kimberley Training Group students the ropes in hospitality telling them to “stick to it, it’s worth it and will start your pathway to bigger and better things.”

Now Montana is adding to her skills by engaging directly with guests as the receptionist and administration officer at the Kununurra Country Club Resort. She already has a well-deserved reputation for her dedication and professionalism.

While Montana is excited about her experience in the industry and keen to learn as much as she can, she is also thinking about her future. Montana has her sights firmly set on continuing her studies and gaining business qualifications in the future.

Montana has also been active in giving back to the local community. A volunteer with the Kimberley Toad Busters since she was six years old, she has been fighting against the spread of cane toads into Western Australia and been involved in the conservation of local species.

Montana even won the Wyndham Shire Australia Day Citizenship Award for the under 25 category at just ten years old for her work. 

She recently gave up her Easter long weekend to travel to remote communities between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing to provide education sessions and to check the local cane toad population. The stall in Fitzroy Crossing saw over 200 people asking about what they could do to mitigate the effects of the toads on the local biodiversity and Montana also gave an interview with the local radio station.

Through her hard work and resilience Montana has proved that tough times can be overcome and shown herself to be an inspirational role model for other young people.

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