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TAFE Queensland makes an impression on Reuben

Graduating from high school in 2018, Reuben Carroll wasn't sure about what he wanted to pursue as a professional career. 

"I knew that I loved being practical and hands-on with learning rather than being academic, which later proved to be the opposite," he explained.

"Then my dad, who is a doctor, introduced me to the Bachelor of Dental Prosthetics (HED004) offered by TAFE Queensland and encouraged me to apply, and I found the course interesting, and I was intrigued."

"The more I looked into it, the more I discovered how complex and important the dentistry industry is, so I decided to enrol. The career prospects were also convincing!"

Despite not having any prior dental experience, the three-year course taught Reuben how to issue, maintain and examine complete and partial dentures, dental appliances, and mouth guards for his patients.

Helping to increase his skills even further were TAFE's facilities and equipment that Reuben used each day, allowing him to seamlessly transition from the classroom to the clinic.

"During my course, I used TAFE's world-class facilities to help real patients. With access to the same chairs, tools and materials in TAFE's labs used in clinics all over Australia, each day prepared me for the real world," continued Reuben.

Over the three years of his course, Reuben and his class learnt immeasurable skills, including the importance of teamwork, communication, leadership and compassion. All of which came to the fore in the dental lab, when students were busy making impressions, flasking and packing multiple jobs for actual patients at one time.

"After many ruthless clinic sessions, long evenings, lab work, exams and writing multiple assignments due for the next day, I created amazing friendships that continue today."

The course also connected him to Australian Dental Prosthetics Association (ADPA) study clubs, giving him networking opportunities and continuing professional development, enhancing his knowledge further.

Complementing the camaraderie of his classmates were his teachers, who brought extensive industry knowledge and skills to the classroom.

"They were unflappable because they'd seen and done it all before. Their friendly demeanour was integral to building my confidence and capabilities. Under their guidance, I learned technical prosthetic skills, how to use specialist equipment, and care for patients," said Reuben.

"They pushed and encouraged me to be my very best and always made time to help with coursework – getting me through the toughest parts of my degree, and I am forever grateful."

Rounding out his education was the connection to the industry that TAFE has, which saw Reuben complete work placement with both TAFE's Denture Clinic at South Bank and Metro West Dental in Ipswich, where he worked alongside qualified professionals and actual patients.

"During my placement, I worked under the guidance of the prosthetists, laboratory manager and dental assistants in a real-world setting, enhancing my skills even further."

After graduating, Reuben wants to continue positively people’s lives through oral health and rehabilitation, and he's excited to begin his new career and take his profession to new heights.

"In the years to come, I look forward to progressing as a dental prosthetist by taking more advanced and specialist courses, widening the scope of my practice by taking part in different classes to enhance my skills. TAFE Queensland gave me a great foundation, but the real learning starts now,” concluded Reuben.