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A rewarding career of care and compassion

Having quietly built a career on care and compassion, this inspirational individual support teacher now finds herself in the spotlight after being shortlisted as a finalist in the Queensland Training Awards.

As an individual support teacher who’s equally passionate both about the study of dementia and caring for people with dementia, Jenny Nichols was surprised to learn that she has been shortlisted in the North Coast regional finals of the Queensland Training Awards this year.

Given her track record and extensive list of accomplishments in this field, the latest accolade should come as no surprise to Jenny but the fact that it does says much about her preference for flying under the radar and achieving things quietly.

Having successfully made it through the first round, Jenny Nichols is proudly representing the Sunshine and Fraser Coasts as well as the Wide Bay region as a finalist in the VET (Vocational and Education Training) Teacher or Trainer category.

This category recognises a teacher or trainer for their innovation and excellence in the provision of training to students at a registered training organisation.

“With so many wonderful and incredibly talented teachers both at TAFE Queensland and elsewhere, I’m not sure what I’ve done to earn this amazing honour but I am very grateful for the recognition,” Jenny said.

“Ask any educator and they will tell you that we really do it for our students and for the love of our chosen fields, which in my case is about providing quality care and support for aged care facilities and most importantly, their residents.

“Providing our students with the best training and education is absolutely critical but getting them to engage with residents on a personal level so they don’t just enter aged care facilities and see ‘old people’ is also really important to me.”

Humbleness and gratitude aside, Jenny is highly regarded by her peers and industry as an exceptional teacher in the field of individual support at TAFE Queensland East Coast who is and well known for specialising in aged care and her dedication to working with people with dementia.

“My students will happily tell you about my passion for dementia care; it’s why I’m there in the classroom practically every day, and why I think it’s really important that as educators, we continue to engage with industry, local aged care facilities and professional bodies,” Jenny said.

“TAFE Queensland is highly regarded by industry because we train and produce good quality, professional, industry-ready graduates – something which I’m enormously proud to be a part of.”

TAFE Queensland General Manager (East Coast region), Ana Rodger, said she was incredibly proud of Jenny’s work with her students and her accomplishments to date which have culminated in her being recognised as a finalist in this year’s Queensland Training Awards.

“In her six years at TAFE Queensland East Coast, Jenny has built and maintained a significant reputation for supporting students with knowledge, innovation, experience and practical training to enable them to be professionally skilled, job-ready and actively engaged in their learning journey,” Ana said.

“As Jenny’s career has gone from strength to strength, I can confidently say that these efforts are only matched by Jenny’s commitment to the study of dementia and the innovative, customised and go-that-extra-mile approach to learning she provides her students.

“Regardless of the final outcome of the Queensland Training Awards, Jenny is already winner in our eyes – she’s an inspiration to both our students and to all of us at TAFE Queensland!”

To find out more about a career in the aged care industry, visit or call 1300 308 233 to see how we can help you define your greatness.