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Preparing for the future with real-world experience

In her senior years of school, Year 12 student Ella Shepherd has chosen to gain industry experience in the field she hopes to one day work, enabling her to graduate with a head start in the workforce and her university studies.

Ella has been able to do so through St Margaret’s careers development program, which encourages students to study for a qualification through TAFE at School outside of school during Years 10 to 12.

TAFE at School allows high school students to gain nationally-recognised qualifications across various industries, including sport, hospitality, health, community services, engineering and agriculture, with TAFE Queensland before they finish school.

While in Year 11, Ella chose to study Certificate II in Health Support Services (HLT23215) through the program because she has a passion for helping others and wants to explore a career in nursing.

She enjoyed studying with TAFE at School so much that she enrolled to study a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance (HLT33115) and a Diploma of Project Management (BSB50820).

“Studying the Certificate II gave me a taste of what a career in health entailed and affirmed my decision to pursue a career in nursing before I finish school,” said Ella.

“When I finish the Certificate III, I’ll be qualified to work as an Assistant in Nursing and get a job straight out of school while I continue my studies at university.”

“I will also have a head start on my university studies, already having foundation knowledge that will assist me in studying a Bachelor of Nursing or Bachelor of Paramedicine.”

Ella attends TAFE at School one day per week, where she gains practical experience under the guidance of teachers from industry, which is readying her for various healthcare environments and workplaces.

“We complete our practical in labs and wards with simulated patients in an environment as close to the real world as possible. I will complete an industry placement in the July school holidays,” she explained.

“My teacher has been a great mentor, and since she currently works in the industry, we receive the most up-to-date information and authentic examples of what happens in the workforce.”

“I’ve also established a new network of friends who are all on the same learning journey, which has been a great support,” said Ella.

In both Certificate courses, Ella has also gained valuable credits for her Queensland Certificate of Education and university entry.

“I feel confident about leaving school because I’ve had the opportunity to try a career and to gain qualifications and experience that will give me a head start in my university studies and future work.

“I feel more confident about getting a job because I already have qualifications and experience in the field.

“Having the chance to gain practical, real-world experience has enhanced my studies at school and allowed me to connect my learning with what I want to do in the future,” Ella concluded.