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Fee-Free TAFE helps Amy work in healthcare

Nursing student Amy Burnham always knew she wanted to work in the healthcare industry and began preparing for a nursing career in high school.

“In high school, I knew I had always wanted to work in health, and I graduated with a Certificate in Health Assistant Services and secured work as an AIN in a hospital,” explains Amy.

Despite beginning a Diploma in Community Services and Social Work (CHC52021), Amy realised while working in the hospital that nursing was where her heart lay, so she transferred to a Diploma in Nursing (HLT54121).

Studying at TAFE Queensland’s Redcliffe campus, Amy is firmly set on a career as a registered nurse and fulfilling her lifelong dream. When she discovered Fee-Free TAFE, she saw an opportunity too good to refuse.

"When I saw I could study this course for free, I applied right away; I’m thrilled to be studying towards becoming a nurse at no cost," she said.

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 and 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.

“Fee-Free has made it easier to save money while studying, and with the money saved from not paying TAFE fees, I have been able to buy my uniform and pay for vaccinations, first aid and CPR courses.

“I’m also able to have a good work/study/life balance by not feeling pressured to work many shifts, which allows me to concentrate on my studies and spend time socialising with my friends.”

TAFE Queensland's facilities, equipment, teachers, and classmates all play a vital role in helping Amy become the nurse she's destined to be.

"The beds in the labs are the same as the ones I used working as an AIN in a hospital. I also love that my teachers come from the industry and bring so much knowledge and experience to the classroom to train us and answer questions."

"They're always accessible and combine their on-the-job learning and experience, as well as their anecdotal knowledge, with each class and lab."

Amy describes her classmates as a wonderful mixture of friendships with like-minded individuals from the local area who support her to succeed.

"I've met so many great people during my studies, and we collaborate and support each other to succeed. Many of their strengths are my weaknesses, and vice versa, and helping each other and working together has been great."

"Overall, TAFE's training is excellent, and many people I've met working in aged care over the past ten years have come through TAFE."

After completing her diploma, Amy intends to finalise her education at university to earn a Bachelor of Nursing while working as an Enrolled Nurse.

“One of my dream jobs would be to work as a nurse with ‘Doctors Without Borders’, and I would also love to work as a nurse in rural Australia,” she concluded.