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Scholarship helps Dana to help others

Kalbar resident Dana Brook is on the path to her dream career in fitness thanks to a TAFE Queensland scholarship funded by CPL Group.

Each year 100 Queenslanders are given the opportunity to create a better future for themselves through education and training by receiving up to $5,000 to study a TAFE Queensland qualification from a certificate III through to an advanced diploma or bachelor degree.

Disability services provider CPL Group have been giving back to the community for over 70 years and have committed to funding scholarships to assist those, like Dana, who may be facing social or financial hardships to overcome barriers and reach their goals.

Nineteen-year-old Dana is among the list of Queenslanders who have been able to pursue their career goals in 2022 after receiving a CPL funded access and equity scholarship last year.

She is now on track to fulfil her career dream by completing a Certificate III in Fitness (Gym Instructor) (SIS30315), and is currently studying a Certificate IV in Fitness (SIS40215) at TAFE Queensland's South Bank campus.

"I've always loved sport. I love teamwork, the competitive spirit, the satisfaction of self-improvement and smashing goals. And I also like the leisure side, how it can help you relax and unwind," said Dana.

"When I was researching where to study, I toured the sports facility here, and it was better than all the others I'd seen, and I found that the atmosphere was excellent."

Dana, who applied for the scholarship while completing her certificate III, said she's grateful for the scholarship, as she's used it to help with her course fees and to pay for her commute to Brisbane from her home in Kalbar for classes.

"I was so overwhelmed when I was granted a scholarship – I was so happy. It's taken away all my financial stress, and I can now focus on studying. It's such a good feeling," she said.

Dana's focus is now on turning her passion into her profession. She can't wait to use her skills to one day be a Health and Physical Education teacher in primary school, teaching young people about the benefits of physical activity.

"For me, sport and physical exercise are fun, and it has improved both my physical and mental health, which has enabled me to study. I want a career helping people of all abilities and ages to improve their lives through physical exercise to feel good and live healthy and happy lifestyles."

"I want a career helping people through exercise - and I want my clients to be motivated, feel that they're in good hands with me, and know that I can help them achieve their goals, make positive changes and feel good about themselves," she said.

Now on her way to completing her qualification, Dana is already gaining real-world experience as a personal trainer. Her classroom is a real gym full of industry-standard exercise equipment where she trains under industry professionals, alongside classmates who share her passion.

"This is a great environment. Every day is like being part of a sports team, and the more I study, the more my skills and confidence improves and the more determined I get."

"I'm working with real clients, instructing them to use gym equipment correctly and helping them get results thanks to the knowledge and practical skills I've gained during my studies."

"My course focuses on the practical skills I need, and it's giving me the relevant knowledge to secure to my future career, and I know I'll graduate as a competent trainer."

Dana's advice to anyone thinking about wanting to study towards a career in sport or physical education should enrol with TAFE Queensland.

"It's so much fun here, and you'll learn so much more than you expect. You'll meet new likeminded people that have the same motivations and goals as you, in an environment designed for you to succeed and give you the skills to create an amazing career."

"I recommend coming to TAFE Queensland, and I'm returning to study the Diploma of Sport, to get more skills to help me become a Health and Physical Education teacher while personal training on the side," concludes Dana.

CPL Group Chief Executive Officer Rhys Kennedy said the partnership with TAFE Queensland to provide funding for scholarships under the access and equity category is an important one.

“CPL Group is funding the scholarships to help remove barriers for people with disability who want to develop or further their career in their chosen field,” Mr Kennedy said.

“At CPL, we are passionate about supporting people to overcome barriers they may encounter when pursuing study and employment goals, and we hope this scholarship is a step towards helping people achieve their dreams.

“With the option to work towards a nationally recognised qualification across a range of industries, it really opens up a lot of opportunity for those looking to study, and it’s exciting to be a part of that,” he said.

TAFE Queensland General Manager Brisbane, Brent Kinnane, said scholarships connect driven and passionate students with vocational training, helping them to develop the job-ready skills they need to kick off a meaningful career.

“We know the power vocational education has to change people’s lives, build stronger communities and help Queenslanders to achieve extraordinary things,” said Mr Kinnane.

“Scholarships provide students, like Dana, with access to TAFE Queensland’s world-class training, teachers, support and facilities to upskill, get qualified and enhance their lives while building on the prosperity of our state.”

TAFE Queensland's scholarship program first launched in 2015 and has since awarded over $2.2 million, helping more than 470 Queenslanders pursue their careers goals.

Scholarship applications to commence study at TAFE Queensland in semester 1, 2023 open on Monday 11 July and close on Friday 30 September.

There are two types of scholarships available – merit scholarships, which aim to support 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.