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Alexa gains the confidence to conquer all

Alexa Mckone is building her career, thanks to her new skills and confidence. 

Recent Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program graduate, Alexa Mckone, is on her way to achieving her career goals, thanks to her newfound skills and confidence.

"Because of my autism, I didn't go to school growing up and didn't learn to socialise and didn't have the skills to interact with people," explains Alexa.

So when I was looking for work, I couldn't find anything. My confidence was low because I saw myself as a high school dropout without social skills, qualifications or experience. Then the job agency I was with recommended studying instead of trying to find a job."

The job agency recommended that Alexa enquire about the SEE program to get the skills she felt she was lacking and give her the confidence she needed to get work.

After visiting TAFE Queensland's Bracken Ridge campus to discuss enrolling and filling in all the paperwork, Alexa was comfortable starting the SEE program and studying for the first time in her adult life, a decision she describes as transformative.

"Honestly, it was life-changing and one of the most amazing and influential things I've ever done. Initially, I was nervous, but being around my classmates gave me more confidence in myself and my abilities. And after just a few months, everything clicked, and I enjoyed it," she said.

Based at TAFE Queensland's Bracken Ridge campus, the Skills for Education Employment (SEE) program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.

The free program provides language, literacy and numeracy training to eligible job seekers in a flexible way, giving them new skills and confidence helps students find a job or enrol in further study.

The program offers up to 650 hours of free training for eligible participants aged 15 and above, and upon successful completion, graduates earn a certificate-level qualification.

Helping Alexa to gain confidence was her teacher, Anita, who accepted her for whom she was and encouraged her throughout the program, trusting that she could learn the subject matter.

"As an autistic and transgender person, I've always had challenges with teachers accepting me in the past. And when I began the program, I had just started to transition, so it was a scary time, and I was still unsure of who I was."

"But from the very first day, my classmates and especially my teacher, Anita, welcomed me with open arms. She's one of the most amazing and welcoming people I've ever met, and she changed my life. Without her, I wouldn't be who l am or where I am today."

Anita saw Alexa's potential and helped her prepare for the real world with interview training, teaching her how to write a resume and cover letter, and teaching her the math and English curriculum.

Anita helped her get volunteer work in an op-shop, requiring her to interact with staff and customers during every shift.

"Anita gave me the skills and confidence to be employable by building up my skills and preparing me for the workplace. I went from being incredibly nervous to going out into the world and conquering whatever I want to."

"Anita is honestly the best teacher I've ever had and one of the best people I've ever met. Because of her and the class, I found my true self, and I know who I am, and I'll never forget what she has done for me."

After graduating from the program, Alexa began working as a catering assistant at a nursing home and is considering further tertiary studies, something she didn't think was possible before the SEE program.

"I'm enjoying my job so much. The residents are lovely to interact with, and I'm extremely proud of how far I have come so quickly. It's all because of my inspirational teacher and the SEE program," continued Alexa.

"I wouldn't have ever gotten here without them, and I still think about my time studying and how influential Anita was in my life.

"She inspired me, believed in me, and convinced me that I could be something better. She helped me turn my life around. I am honestly not sure where I'd be without her," concluded Alexa.