From 15-year-old kiosk worker to Centre Manager: Meet Tia


When Tia Sandhu took up her first ever job in the Mike Barnett Sports Complex kiosk as a fresh-faced 15-year-old, not even she could foresee herself being centre manager a mere three years later.

But fast-forward a few rotations around the sun and that’s exactly what Tia was – and still is – an incredibly inspiring, young and powerful leader.

For the first time in Tia’s six years at Mike Barnett, they haven’t had to recruit any new staff heading into the busy season, retaining the whole team despite a significantly quieter period over summer with off-season for basketball and netball.

It’s this group of staff members Tia describes as a ‘very solid team’, which has an average age of just 21. It’s this group of staff members, who have the centre looking the best it’s ever been, according to the City of Rockingham and patrons of the centre – and it’s all because of the power of the inspired young people driving it.

“When I turned 18 I was given the opportunity to do duty management, so I’d work evenings and would be the main supervisor working out of the office when the centre manager wasn’t here. That was really good to gain some experience, I then got promoted to a bookings role when another staff member left. In November 2015 our previous centre manager left and Brooke asked me to step up to centre manager, and only being 19 years old I was a bit daunted,” Tia admitted.

Despite the initial apprehension, Tia took on the challenge and has only excelled since. For her first year in the role, Tia stepped aside from her Bachelor in Secondary Education (English and Visual Arts) to fully focus on the new position and get some experience under her belt.

Twelve months on, Tia has returned to university to study part-time and now works four days a week as the centre manager. Her vision for the future is to immerse herself in youth work through YTime and The Base @ Belmont, to help figure out if her passion lies within youth interaction in a formal classroom setting or an informal environment like youth work. Despite a potential role shift on the horizon, Tia’s vision of segueing into youth work sees her passion for the Y remain stronger than ever.

In her own words; “I really want to stay on with the Y no matter what I do, it’s a fantastic organisation and they’ve treated me really well in the time I’ve been here. I’m looking for ways I can branch out of here and Mike Barnett now that I’ve moved out of Rockingham myself, while hopefully moving on to bigger and better things with the Y.” 

Category: General