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Hector's heart trouble leads to rewarding new career

After losing his job due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and ending up in hospital with a suspected heart attack, Killarney-local Hector Hancock was down on his luck. But his hospital stay ended up being a blessing in disguise, setting him on the path to return to study and start a new career at 64 years young.

Hector describes himself as a Good Samaritan and a good talker. It was these qualities that helped him forge close relationships with his fellow patients during his prolonged hospital stay.

"I was probably 20 years younger than other patients who were there having heart bypasses and heart surgery and stuff. I've kept in touch with a few of them — I still go out to Taree and load firewood for an elderly gentleman out there. I take a bit of meat out and cook him a few meals and keep him company," Hector said.

Despite undergoing countless tests while being passed between specialisations and wards, Hector looks back on his time in hospital fondly.

"I had the best time of my life helping people, and I realised this is what I want to do," he said.

Seeing the ease with which Hector could form a relationship with his fellow patients, and the impact his company was having on them, Hector's daughters encouraged him to consider a career in aged care.

Hector lost his previous job as a handyman, due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, and discovered he was eligible for JobTrainer funding, which helped reduce the cost of his studies and put his new career within reach.

The State Government’s JobTrainer funding initiative means training and re-skilling is now more affordable than ever, with eligible Queenslanders able to access selected qualifications in high-priority areas for free or low cost.

After enrolling in a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) (CHC33015) at TAFE Queensland's Warwick campus, Hector's luck quickly began to change.

"About a week after I started my course, my daughters noticed there was a job on SEEK that came up at Killarney Memorial Aged Care," Hector said.

"I put my resume in on the Thursday, got a call on the Friday asking me to come in for an interview, and then by the next Friday I was an employee," he said.

Although still fresh in his new role, Hector is already loving being able to give back to his local community.

"There are a couple of old gentlemen I know from around Killarney in the Killarney Memorial Aged Care facility – they don't have many visitors, so I helped the nurses with one gentleman by going for lunch. I had a little bit of a yarn to him, and as I was leaving the nurse came after me and said, 'The gentleman would like to talk to you a bit longer, could you come back and see him this afternoon?"

Being the self-proclaimed talker that he is, Hector jumped at the opportunity to help out and play his part in giving the residents the social life they often miss out on.

As the state’s largest and most experienced training provider, TAFE Queensland is committed to providing Queenslanders with the quality, hands-on training they need to succeed in their chosen career.

With new funded programs recently announced there’s never been a better time to enrol in vocational education and training, with eligible Queenslanders now able to complete selected qualifications for free or low cost.

Learn more about the Queensland Government’s subsided training options and see how you can define your greatness with TAFE Queensland.