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TAFE Queensland helps Keenan change his life

After dropping out of school in year ten due to falling behind in school work because of his disinterest, Keenan Sneddon worked odd jobs for some time but was either unemployed or unemployable long term.

Knowing that an education would unlock his future, he made multiple attempts to return to school several times and failed each attempt – until now.

“I was unemployed since leaving high school and was job hopping, but nothing worked out. Then I was diagnosed with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism, which I'm now medicated for, meaning I can focus in the classroom, which brought me back to TAFE Queensland,” explained Keenan.

The father of two is now completing a Certificate IV in Adult Tertiary Preparation (10765NAT) (ATP) at TAFE Queensland’s Redcliffe Campus part-time, with his sights set on studying teaching at university.

“My oldest child is also autistic; if she's anything like me, she will struggle with school. So, by the time I become a teacher, I’ll be able to help fill in the blanks for her so she doesn't fall through the cracks and drop out like I did,” he said.

ATP is proving to be Keenan's ideal alternative to high school, giving him the essential study and technical skills he needs to prepare for university studies.

Also helping him to achieve his goal of studying teaching at university are his TAFE Queensland teachers, who he describes as excellent.

“The course is easy to understand, and the adult-friendly teaching means you aren’t left behind. Everything slows down whenever anyone asks a question, and it gets explained so we all understand it and move forward together.”

“For example, I get thoroughly confused when it comes to math. But my questions are answered and explained with information on the whiteboard so I can take pictures to help absorb it - it's all well done.”

“Math has never been my friend. But I'm taking what I’m learning home to help my wife with her accounting studies, so I’m improving,” he said.

Keenan is also studying his course using Fee-Free TAFE Funding, which means he’s not incurring any debt during his studies.

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 supports 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.

Now, with a new level of confidence, a career destination he’s working towards and the motivation to help others, Keenan is focused on going to university to study teaching, to one day help high school students with similar disorders as his own.

“Coming to TAFE Queensland has helped me do more than when I was going to school because the learning environment here is designed for you to succeed.”

“The term lifesaver is thrown around a lot, but coming here has helped me change my life and will help me improve the learning outcomes for my daughter and any students I teach in the future,” concludes Keenan.