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Fee-Free TAFE helps Rosie add to her family's legacy

For Rosie Wallace, there was no doubt that she would be a nurse, join the profession and add to her family's legacy of working to help others.

"My family is full of nurses; like them, I want a career helping people, and when I graduate, I'll be a fourth-generation nurse on my mum's side and third-generation on my dad's side, and like them, I want a career helping people," explained Rosie.

Now studying for a Diploma of Nursing (HLT54121) at TAFE Queensland's South Bank Campus, she is firmly set on a career as a registered nurse.

Becoming a nurse was Rosie's lifelong dream, and she began studying for a diploma in nursing ten years ago. However, she had to drop out just before her final placement due to health and life reasons.

Returning to study had always been her plan, and when she discovered Fee-Free TAFE, she saw an opportunity to restart her training and applied immediately.

"When I saw I could study this course for free, I was like, 'Say no more', and sent my application in right away, and my mum is so stoked that I'm studying to become a nurse," 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 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.

Now balancing her studies with her Assistant in Nursing job at an aged care facility, Rosie says Fee-Free TAFE has made life easier.

"Not having to manage working and studying as much as I did during my previous studies has made life much less stressful. It's wonderful to train to become the nurse I'm destined to be and not be hugely out of pocket," she explained.

Also helping are TAFE Queensland's facilities, equipment, teachers and classmates, who are all playing a vital role in helping her become the nurse she's destined to be.

"The beds in the labs are better than the ones I use in my job - they are much faster at raising up and down, and they always work."

"I also love that my teachers work in industry and bring extensive technical knowledge and experience from the workplace 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."

Rosie describes the collaboration with her classmates as a wonderful mixture of friendship with like-minded individuals and a personal cheer squad that supports each other to succeed.

"Making friends as an adult can be difficult, but I've met so many great people during my studies, and we hang out together during the term and the holidays - it's great."

"Regarding our studies, we're very collaborative 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."

"Most of them are studying to be registered nurses and tell me they're the nurses they are thanks to TAFE's practical hands-on training from health professional teachers that gave them the skills to succeed in the industry."

"I've also been working with student registered nurses with a year of university study under their belts, and I've finished six months of TAFE studies, and my clinical skills are more advanced than theirs," explained Rosie.

With no debt burden, Rosie is confident and focused on training to become a registered nurse and embarking on a career that adds to her family legacy.

"I plan to attend university next year to become a registered nurse, and while I’m interested in specialising in neurology, the industry is so broad that I'm open to trying as many different areas as possible to find my niche," she concluded.