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Scholarships help Sherrie pursue lifelong nursing dream

Hervey Bay resident Sherrie Schembri is finally on the path to her dream career with the support of a TAFE Queensland scholarship.

Up to 100 Queenslanders will be given the support to create a better future for themselves through education and training, with applications for TAFE Queensland’s scholarships now open.

Scholarship recipients will receive up to $5,000 to study a TAFE Queensland qualification from any study area in 2022, from a certificate III through to an advanced diploma or bachelor degree.

There are two types of scholarships available – merit scholarships, which are aimed at supporting people who have demonstrated strong levels of achievement to advance their careers, and access and equity scholarships, which are designed to help students battling social or financial hardship.

Hervey Bay resident Sherrie Schembri, 38, is among the list of Queenslanders who have been able to pursue their career goals in 2021 after receiving an access and equity scholarship last year.

The mother and devoted wife is now on track to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse, with Sherrie due to graduate from TAFE Queensland’s Hervey Bay campus with a Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115) at the end of this year.

Sherrie said she is grateful for the opportunity the scholarship has given her, and can’t wait to use her skills to give back to her community.

“I'm so elated and still can’t believe that TAFE Queensland granted me with a scholarship,” Sherrie said.

“I'm enjoying helping other people to make their lives better. I want my patients to feel I'm a competent nurse when I come into the room, and to know that I'm listening to their concerns. I want to give others hope and make sure they feel cared for,” she said

Sherrie moved from the Philippines to Australia with her husband in 2012. Inspired by relatives in the healthcare industry, Sherrie has had aspirations of becoming a nurse for as long as she can remember, but was held back by financial and language barriers that instead pushed her into the travel industry.

“Growing up, I honestly struggled to speak English. In school, I needed extra help and I was ashamed to ask for it, while my classmates could afford tutors and hop on planes and travel the world. I had to work hard to finish school but I did,” Sherrie said.

“I then took up a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, and my school sent me to Singapore to study my placement, which also gave me a chance to practice my English. From that experience I learned to live alone and be independent in life, be comfortable in talking English, and to save money."

“I was working in the travel industry before I came to Australia, but my husband inspired me to continue my dreams to become a nurse. Currently my husband is sick, so I'm determined to finish what I have started; being a qualified nurse and carer will give me more knowledge of care towards him.”

Upon enrolling in the Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115) at TAFE Queensland’s Hervey Bay campus, Sherrie heard about TAFE Queensland's scholarship program and immediately jumped at the chance to apply.

“I'm the only one working in the family, so getting this help takes away all my financial concerns and gives me more time to study,” Sherrie said.

“It’s been difficult to juggle looking after my husband, child and study, but there’s only one way to motivate myself and it's to imagine myself being in the field and helping people. Nothing is impossible when you believe in yourself.”

Now just one semester away from completing her qualification, Sherrie is already gaining experience as a support worker in aged care, and has already secured employment at a general practice clinic upon her graduation — an achievement she credits to the knowledge and practical skills she's developed throughout her studies.

“TAFE Queensland focuses on the practical skills you need to learn because they give training that is relevant to the jobs you choose — plus they have a shorter completion time. I also considered that studying at TAFE is a pathway to higher education, which is also part of my plan for me to be highly employable — my goal is to become a Registered Nurse,” she said.

TAFE Queensland's scholarship program first launched in 2015 and has since awarded over $1.8million; helping more than 390 Queenslanders pursue their careers goals.

This year RACQ and CPL have also partnered with the program, with RACQ’s funding supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to study in the Townsville region, and CPL's funding supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability.

Applications for a TAFE Queensland scholarship to commence study in semester one 2022 are now open and will close on 24 September 2021.