Gemma’s passion a boon for city

Nicole SalmeriSouth Western Times
Passionate Bunbury 21-year-old Gemma Stewart has been recognised as South Regional TAFE Trainee of the Year for her hard work and dedication.
Camera IconPassionate Bunbury 21-year-old Gemma Stewart has been recognised as South Regional TAFE Trainee of the Year for her hard work and dedication. Credit: Nicole Salmeri

At 21 years old, there are not many women who work full-time and volunteer more than 20 hours a week, but have you met Bunbury’s Gemma Stewart?

A born-and-bred Bunbury woman, Gemma has always had a love for the community and does not have any plans to go anywhere soon.

Gemma is working as a lands officer for the City of Bunbury and after a late application for the position, she realised just how fortunate she was.

“I applied online in the final hours before the application closed and after I got accepted I found out there were about 300 applicants,” she said.

“I never pictured working for the local government. Through school I changed like a thousand times what I wanted to do.”

Gemma was recently recognised for hard work and dedication to her studies when she was awarded the title of South West trainee of the year.

“I got an email late last year when I completed my Certificate III in business and it said ‘trainee of the year applications are open’,” she said

“I didn’t think much of it so I just flicked it to my former manager.”

Gemma thought her time in the spotlight was over, but was then announced as the South Regional TAFE trainee of the year, which covers all 12 TAFEs in the south regional area.

“I thought my night was done and they announced my name again and I was so shocked,” she said.

A role model within the community, Gemma is also a familiar face around the Carey Park Football and Netball Club.

“For the first nine years of my life my dad was the president of Carey Park, so it was basically my second home,” Gemma said

“Dad pretty much left the footy club to go meet mum at the hospital while she gave birth to me and then went straight back to the footy club.”

“Pretty much sums up my life.”

For many years, Gemma’s father Wayne Stewart tried to lure her into playing football but her heart was definitely on the netball court.

“Yes netball is my No.1 sport,” she said.

It was inevitable for Gemma to become heavily involved in the football club as her two brothers are also keen footballers.

“My brothers also play for Carey Park Football Club and I play for the netball side,” Gemma said.

“I’m the league captain.”

The word “relax” is not in Gemma’s vocabulary, but her passion and love for helping others and getting involved in the community is evident.

“I’m also the assistant coordinator of the South West Football Netball League, which involves doing the scheduling at the start of the season. Anyone who is involved in a sporting club knows that is one of the hardest jobs to do,” she said.

“Plus working full-time is pretty hectic.

“We also have to ensure every player is registered, score sheets, making sure everyone qualifies.”

These voluntary roles don’t come easy, requiring Gemma to dedicate extra hours around her already busy full-time job.

“Leading up to the season, I’d say 20 hours a week of voluntary work plus working full-time,” she said.

“Pre-season tournaments – I’m in the canteen or I’m doing the scoreboard if I’m needed to in between netball games.

“I also coordinate the Carey Park Netball Club as well.

“This is my life and that’s how I was brought up and I love it and I love giving back to the community.”

Gemma plans to continue her work in and around the football and netball club as well as working her way up into a more senior role with the local government.

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