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Nicole enhances her career with Fee-Free TAFE

After the birth of her second child, Nicole Pana decided to use the time she spent at home on maternity leave to enhance her career with the help of Fee-Free TAFE.

"I knew what to expect with an infant at home, and wanting to enhance my career, I decided to research fitting some studying around my daughter's naps, changes and feeds," explained Nicole.

"My research steered me towards TAFE Queensland's Diploma of Project Management (BSB50820), a high-level qualification that would take just six months to complete part-time."

As she weighed up her options and decided if she wanted to commit, Nicole discovered that the course was offered under Fee-Free TAFE Funding – making it entirely free for her study.

"The Fee-Free TAFE funding made my decision to study easier. It means I can get qualified before I return to work without any debt, and it will help me to level up at work. If it weren't for Fee-Free TAFE, I wouldn't be studying and getting the knowledge and skills to manage projects," she explained.

Fee-Free TAFE funding is part of the Queensland Government's Good People. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022–2032. It aims to connect, educate and attract the people needed to meet the state's workforce demand in existing and new industry sectors to support continued economic growth.

With approximately 37,000 Fee-Free TAFE and vocational education and training places available in 2023, the program will support Queenslanders to skill up to meet the state's current and future workforce needs by enabling them to complete selected qualifications at no or low cost.

While studying remotely on maternity leave was initially daunting, Nicole has found her teacher very supportive and accessible, and always guides Connect, TAFE Queensland's online student service.

Through Connect, Nicole can access study resources, submit her assessments, view her grades, and communicate with teachers.

"My teacher is so supportive and knowledgeable, and thanks to Connect, I ask them questions, which are always promptly answered, which makes studying remotely so much easier," explained Nicole.

With no burden of debt, Nicole's focus is on completing her studies and learning how to manage project scopes, costs, risks and quality – skills she will use each day when she returns to full-time work.

"I can already see how I'll be able to implement my new understanding of project management into my role. This course has taught me the skills and principles of effective project management, and I can see how it will make my life easier."

Nicole says anyone considering studying should contact TAFE Queensland and discuss their options.

"TAFE Queensland's practical learning allows you to quickly gain the skills and confidence you need to level up, and if you can do it at a low or no cost, why wouldn't you?" concluded Nicole.