Indigenous Workforce Coordinator mentoring North West health workers

INDIGENOUS MENTOR: NWHHS Indigenous Liaison Officer, Robert Warren, and his mentor, Indigenous Workforce Coordinator, Lila Pigliafiori, at Mount Isa Hospital. Photo: Esther MacIntyre
INDIGENOUS MENTOR: NWHHS Indigenous Liaison Officer, Robert Warren, and his mentor, Indigenous Workforce Coordinator, Lila Pigliafiori, at Mount Isa Hospital. Photo: Esther MacIntyre

New Indigenous Workforce Coordinator, Lila Pigliafiori, is evidently busting to get on with the job of mentoring and assisting an ambitious young Indigenous workforce at North West Hospital and Health Service (NWHHS).

Lila has already begun her reign of influence by inspiring two young health workers to take up research into nursing studies. 

In her new role, Lila will be keeping busy working with all 83 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in the NWHHS, providing support to upskill or start tertiary training.

Lila Pigliafiori - Indigenous Workforce Coordinator, mentor, mother, and soon to be nurse.

Lila Pigliafiori - Indigenous Workforce Coordinator, mentor, mother, and soon to be nurse.

Lila will be negotiating training opportunities with universities and TAFE Colleges, seeking out relevant courses that are available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, to help with improvement and retention. 

“It has a double benefit too, as it provides the team leaders or the line managers within the health service with a very operational, trained staff, from the Aborginal corner,” Lila said.

“Because really, they are the link between the hospital and the community. And to maintain that link means making sure they have the opportunity to do what they do best, and that’s engage people.”

It’s a fantastic job for the right person, and Lila does appear to be something of a superwoman.

New Indigenous Workforce Coordinator at NWHHS, and nursing student with MIRRH, Lila Pigliafiori.

New Indigenous Workforce Coordinator at NWHHS, and nursing student with MIRRH, Lila Pigliafiori.

While holding down this full time job with NWHHS, studying full time for her Bachelor of Nursing Sciences, Lila also manages her family of husband, one teenager, and three adult children and two grandchildren.

Born and raised in Cloncurry, Lila belongs to the Waanyi/Gangalidda people of Burketown, and to the Erub, Darnley Island people of the Torres Strait, so she is both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. 

She has lived and worked in Mount Isa for 29 years, most of her adult life, and started with legal services, health and community and private business.

Lila’s previous position was Senior Economic Development Officer for the Department of State Development. 

With a background in vocational training and mentoring, diplomas in mental health, business management and experience as an assessor in workplace training, her current position uses all the skills gained over the years.

Starting with the Indigenous Health Workers, she is employing skills gap mapping, looking at their training needs, helping them to upskill, and helping them to transition into other fields if desired.

Lila’s whole career has been one of continuous change and improvement, so she is the ideal mentor. She has been on a long road with her nursing training, but she has her eye on the prize – graduation after her third year next year. 

Her mother was an assistant in nursing in Cloncurry in the 1960s and was a strong advocate for Aboriginal health, and her father encouraged her to pick up her training again, two days before he passed in 2003 and her mother reiterated that one week before passing in 2011.