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Award-winning Laura to soon share her business knowledge

What happens when COVID-19 and your own health ‘shuts down’ your dream career? If you’re Laura, you pivot, and you simply find another area to excel in.

“Until 2021, I was running my own restaurant – it had been a dream of mine since I was eight years old,” shared this year’s TAFE Queensland Toowoomba’s Bob Walker Memorial and Equity Vocational Student of the Year awards winner, Laura Scurr.

“Obviously because of COVID-19, and my own health challenges I was facing at that time, I wasn't able to continue running the restaurant.”

“So, I returned to Toowoomba and I became involved with the YWCA Y Connect program, which is a program for women and gender diverse people living with disabilities, around employment, career aspirations and career development,” Laura continued.

When Laura was running the restaurant, she facilitated a number of workshops, and was heavily involved in staff training, which made her think about ‘training’ as an alternative career.

“I chose to study Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40122) because training was something that I was able to do well and it was something I enjoyed doing,” Laura said.

With a reputation for delivering high quality, hands-on training together with a delivery mode that suited the requirements of the Certificate IV level course, Laura opted to undertake her qualification with TAFE Queensland via the online virtual classroom study mode.

“I'd heard through various friends and acquaintances how challenging the course can be. So, I thought it would be beneficial to have that interaction with the teacher in the Zoom classroom. I also noticed it was spread over nine to twelve months, which I thought would be advantageous given the workload involved with it. And I was right,” shared Laura. 

The TAE qualification has a reputation for being comprehensive and intensive. Fortunately, when Laura fell ill again – TAFE Queensland teaching staff gave her the support she needed. Laura has cerebral palsy and when she catches a virus, it can take weeks to recover.

“I was sick for about ten weeks and the teaching staff were brilliant – absolutely amazing. Really supportive. My teacher organised extensions and was very understanding,” Laura said.

Laura’s teacher, Ian Ross, had equally lovely things to say about her: “Laura made everybody in the class richer for the experience of knowing her and seeing her skills with a disability and overcoming the challenges.”

The support that she gave to her classmates and also to people from other classes was inspiring.”

“Plus, her grasp of the content was excellent and being able to apply it in a context was fantastic,” Ian added.

Ian’s feedback aligns with Laura’s enjoyment of the course and working with her fellow students and helping each other with group assessments was what she liked the most.

After completing the Fee-Free TAFE funded Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40122), Laura’s future plans involve more study with TAFE Queensland. This time a Certificate IV in Business (BSB40120), which will complement her previously attained Bachelor of Commerce and Business.

“I want to expand on what I can teach. I'm still involved with the YWCA at the moment – teaching computers and business management. I want to explore all the possibilities of teaching,” said Laura.

Laura has some encouraging words of advice for students considering studying with TAFE Queensland.

“Go ahead with it. You know – put the hard work in, and the rest will follow.”