Before becoming an endorsed candidate for the Labor Party in the 2023 NSW State Election, I had no idea what to expect. As a first time candidate and with three weeks left to go, I’m sure my experience will only evolve.

Previous to starting up the campaign, I had 10 years professional experience, with my most recent role as Communications Officer at the NSW Department of Education, dedicated to a program designed to improve higher education and career outcomes for young people.

I decided to get involved in the political scene around the same time I decided to leave my job in the private sector to work towards my goal of education reform. When I graduated high school I didn’t qualify for an ATAR, I knew the university route wasn’t for me at that time so I went straight into the workforce.

After applying for countless administration roles on Seek, I landed a role as Office Junior for a property developer within Sydney CBD. My tasks included ordering stationery, filling up the photocopier with paper and taking coffee orders. Through hard work and trying my hand at a few different roles, I was able to progress within the company and left after just over 6.5 years as a Marketing Communications Coordinator.

At this stage of my career, my highest educational attainment was still my Higher School Certificate.

I started another role as a Marketing Account Manager and worked across various portfolios. After two years at this company, I decided I had the experience, skill set and confidence to focus on an area I was passionate about – education. At the time of my resignation I was a Marketing Manager. One month later, I started my role as a Communications Officer at the NSW Department of Education and Chief Operations Officer for the not-for-profit Raise our Voice Australia.

Raise our Voice Australia does a lot of things, but our core focus is to amplify young female and non-binary voices to actively lead conversations in politics. We do this through research, workshops, campaigning and training programs. In 2021, I signed up for the 10-week training program to dive deeper into government, policy and politics, what I thought was going to be a good learning experience ended up being the catalyst for me moving into the public sector and putting my hat in the ring to run.

I believe education creates better outcomes and allows people to set themselves up for success.

Each milestone of my career has come through being the beneficiary of being surrounded by educated and knowledgeable peers who were willing to teach me on the job. People who understood the power of education and directed me to the appropriate pathways and networks.

I started my campaign with education as my core focus, but as the housing crisis intensified, I found affordable housing to be a recurring theme in many of my conversations. People are concerned about the future of their home in Sydney and about the growing population of homelessness. Without a secure home, I believe it to be near impossible to focus on other aspects of life. This changed the direction of the campaign, we’re now honing in on a ‘housing first’ approach. Trying to plan for your future trajectory in relation to educational and career aspirations isn’t feasible if you can’t access shelter.

As a renter in Sydney, I’m not only advocating on the behalf of a party that is committed to making change – but I’m pushing for fairer renting rights and housing affordability based on lived experience and seeing the need for change first hand.

Skye Tito

Author Skye Tito

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