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Scholarship helps Sheyana kick-start a rewarding career

Sheyana Brough is on the path to a rewarding career in early childhood, after receiving a scholarship from TAFE Queensland.

TAFE Queensland scholarships are open for applications until 30 September 2022, giving 100 Australians the opportunity to create a better future through education and training.

The TAFE Queensland scholarship program awards each recipient $5,000 to study any certificate III through to an advanced diploma or bachelor degree at more than 60 campus locations, from Thursday Island in the north to Coolangatta in the south east, and as far west as Mount Isa.

There are two types of scholarships available, one being Merit scholarships aimed at supporting people who have demonstrated strong levels of achievement to advance their careers. The second are Access and Equity scholarships designed to help students who are battling social or financial hardship.

Sheyana Brough was among TAFE Queensland’s scholarship recipients in 2021, with the 19-year-old awarded an Access and Equity scholarship that is now enabling her to undertake a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50121), after completing her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30121) straight out of school last year.

“I've always loved playing and being around children throughout my life and I can’t believe that something that comes so naturally to me can be my career,” Sheyana said.

“I absolutely love kids and I feel like working in this industry is my calling.”

Sheyana knew she wanted teach, guide and support children for a living from a young age, after stepping up to help her mother raise her baby sister following the passing of her father when she was just 11-years-old.

Her passion for the industry was only strengthened after she completed work experience at a childcare centre in high school, with Sheyana also taking up babysitting and teaching dance to younger children before even graduating high school.

“I really struggled throughout high school. Everyone was set on what they wanted to do from year 9 and while I knew I always wanted to work with kids, I didn’t think I was smart enough and really doubted myself, because I felt the pressure to go to uni. But I’m so glad I came to TAFE — this diploma has really guided me to be the best educator I can be,” she said.

“Everything about early childhood education and care makes me happy. Whenever I walk in to work I get piled with hugs from the children and it just makes my day.

“It’s so rewarding knowing I am making an impact in these children's lives. It’s truly a privilege to help shape children and you can actually see the difference you’re making.”

While she has not yet graduated, Sheyana has already been working in the industry casually for a year, and has recently gained part-time employment at Immanuel Early Learning. Her goal is to continue furthering her studies, with the aim of eventually becoming a teacher in Steiner education.

“I have a passion for alternative schools because I went to a couple myself and experienced how a different approach can foster creativity and bring out the best in children,” Sheyana said.

“Steiner lets kids learn through their creative interests — it’s all about helping them build their communication and social skills while having fun.”

Sheyana said she is extremely grateful for the scholarship, with the money supporting her to pursue her dream career.

“It was a great opportunity and I had nothing to lose, so I just went for it, and I’m so glad I did — I would not have been able to continue my studies without this scholarship,” Sheyana said.

“I was so excited when I found out I’d been selected for it, I told anyone who would listen. I hesitated about submitting it because I didn’t think I’d get it — thought I’d be last on the list — but it was so worth it.”

To be eligible, applicants must be an Australian citizen or permanent residents and must commence study in Semester 1, 2023 or be an existing TAFE Queensland first year apprentice at the time of submitting the application.

First launched in 2015, the TAFE Queensland Scholarship Program has since awarded over $2.2million, helping more than 470 Queenslanders pursue their careers goals.

TAFE Queensland Chief Executive Officer, Mary Campbell said this year there are 100 scholarships available thanks to the Scholarship Program partners — CPL, Bendigo Bank, RACQ and Exemplar Health.

“RACQ funded scholarships support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who wish to study in the Townsville region, while CPL have provided funding for scholarships under the Access and Equity category for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability,” said Mrs Campbell.

“Bendigo Community Bank have sponsored access and equity scholarships and is committed to helping people achieve their study aspirations to build stronger communities.

“And for the first time this year we welcome Exemplar Health who are partnering with us to support Access and Equity scholarships for Allied Health sector students across our TAFE Queensland East Coast region,” she said.

With an average of 600 applications received each year, Mrs Campbell said she encourages anyone looking to start their career or make a career change to apply now.

“Whether you’re leaving school, considering a career change or looking to upskill, all Queenslanders are urged to apply.”