Rosemeadow’s Sonja Delbello is living proof that it is never too late to chase your dream job.
The single mother-of-three has spent most of her life working hard to financially get by week to week and support her young family as well as her ill grandmother.
Ms Delbello has overcome a challenging childhood, teen pregnancy and stagnated education to finally, at 40 years of age, pursue her long-held goal of becoming a patisserie baker.
She began studying at TAFE Campbelltown after spending more than two decades working in the retail industry.
“I wanted to re-skill myself and I’ve always had a passion for food,” Ms Delbello said.
“I had worked part-time in retail since I was 15 but I wasn’t really happy and it didn’t pay well, but I had to put my kids first.
“The kids are now a bit older and I am able to study so I’d definitely call it a career change.”
Ms Delbello has taken the hard road to reach this opportunity.
She said she grew up with a “very strict upbringing” and there was a lot of verbal abuse at home between her parents.
Her parents divorced before Ms Delbello had turned 10 and she said it was a “sad and lonely time”.
Ms Delbello, her mum and sister left their home and went to live together in a Sydney refuge.
Ms Delbello said she “rebelled for a bit” during her early teen years and then fell pregnant when she was 17.
She said it took three years to complete her Year 10 certificate.
“I spent one year at school and then two years at TAFE Ultimo to finish that certificate,” Ms Delbello said.
Ms Delbello spent the past two decades raising her three children Nathaniel (now 21), Monica (20) and Anthony (15).
In 2017, Ms Delbello returned to tertiary education when she enrolled in a Certificate III class in Commercial Cookery at TAFE Campbelltown last year.
She decided to return to class in 2018 to study for a Certificate III in Retail Bakery.
“It’s just the beginning and I feel like I have so much more to learn,” she said.
“I’ve also started doing part-time work at Macarthur Tavern and that is proving to be a great experience.
“I plan to go back to TAFE next year to study a Certificate IV in Patisserie.”
Adult Learner’s Week began on Saturday and runs through to September 8. It aims to promote the benefit of adults obtaining new skills.
Ms Delbello encouraged other people to consider a career change if they were unhappy.
“We’re always growing and changing so don’t give up on your dream – it will happen,” she said.
“My kids are so happy and proud of me.”
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