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Encouraging his best path forward

Guiding your teenager through career choices isn’t easy, but for Rahni Carroll seeing her son light up made it all worth it.

Rahni knew helping her son Reuben decide on his study options after high school was important.

“We started exploring his options when he was in Year 10. There were certain courses he could do to supplement his high school studies. He tried a few of those for a season, but they didn't have quite the fit he wanted — it didn't hold his interest,” she said.

Reuben's mother wanted to be sure she was guiding him in a direction he loved, that would also suit his skills.

“At school, Reuben was always very hard working. He always did everything on time,” Rahni continued.

“He wasn't particularly academic, but he did like practical things. He loved making things at school, so that always interested him. We always figured that was going to be important as part of his future career to consider that.”

For Reuben and his parents, the process for deciding where and what to study first began at an appointment with his school’s career officer.

“We sat down with him, and he went through the different courses Reuben could do. A lot of them didn't involve university because Reuben wasn't on that career path to have an academic career as such.”

“But then he suggested TAFE Queensland’s Bachelor of Dental Prosthetics (HED004) course. Not only was it a bachelor degree, but it also involved a lot of practical learning along with the academic side to it.”

“Reuben wanted to use his hands, wanted to be practical, but he also wanted to learn and improve his skills. It was a great fit because he could get on with it hands on, but he also saw there was a potential for further learning and getting up the ladder, so to speak. I think that really appealed to him. So, we ran with it.”

It’s always been important to Rahni and her husband not to hold back Reuben’s potential.

“When you hear your child suggest something you think might be outside their scope, listen to their interest and don't limit them,” Rahni advised.

“We felt perhaps Reuben might not be able to handle the academic side, but it progressed very naturally through the hands-on learning.”

Like any parent, she just wanted to know they'd helped guide Reuben to make the best choice for his future.

“It was beautiful to see from the beginning to end how his genuine interest in the course meant he was intrigued and engaged. And with all the support he got, we figured out that, yes, this is the right fit for Reuben.”

“Before starting the course, there's was that anxiety, 'Have we helped our child to make the right decision?' From starting the course on the first day, the interest that he showed, the knowledge that he was gaining that he would share with us, the models that he bought home, he was loving it.”

“He also went to a few dental practices during his course to get practical experience. This was really valuable for him in learning how to interact with clients, with the staff within the industry, and ultimately, built up his confidence entering the workforce. It was a very invaluable experience.”

“He was never bored. It helped ease our minds that he had made the right choice and we were thrilled. The more and more he learned, the more excited he was to share with us.”

“As parents, we feel really happy that he's made the right choice for him, right now.”

With a proud smile, Rahni recollects all her son has achieved since leaving school.

“Reuben's happily graduated and he's very happy he made his choice. We can see it was the right choice for him and that he's going to progress quite well in the industry.”

“He's already had a job offer, which he's thrilled about. There is talk of perhaps in the future that he might continue with further studies, perhaps dentistry, but for now he's very happy with where he's at,” she concluded.