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Fee-Free TAFE helps Simone become a nurse

After a career in banking and finance, Simone Roache decided to change careers and become a nurse, bringing her to TAFE Queensland.

“I'd been in financial services for over 20 years and decided to find something else. When a mutual friend told me about her studies with TAFE Queensland and the job security that came with nursing, I investigated it,” explained Simone.

“I was blown away when I discovered all the different nursing areas I could work in, from community to rural to a hospital setting or with a general practitioner, and I decided to apply.”

“I called TAFE and connected with the person on the phone. Here I was, an older person going back to study, overwhelmed by how daunting it was. She identified with me, and I was assured that there was support and studying at any age was rewarding,” she said.

Upon enrolling to study the Diploma of Nursing (HLT54121) at TAFE Queensland's Alexandra Hills campus, Simone instantly felt the support of the community of like-minded and helpful people she’d just joined.

“When I began studying, my classmates and teachers were so collaborative and supportive that they eased my uncertainty and were happy to help me achieve my study goals.”

“When we weren’t congregating in the break room, we would be in our SMS group, asking questions about the assignments and subjects and working together as a team, helping each other pass,” she continued.

Learning in TAFE’s condensed and fertile learning environment, the facilities, equipment and industry experience her teachers brought to the classroom enhanced Simone’s training.

“The balance of theory and hands-on learning was amazing. We’d bring what we learned in the classroom to life in the nursing lab. Its hospital-grade beds and simulated patients and medical equipment gave us an awareness and knowledge of nursing in a hospital setting,” she said.

“My teachers were incredible - Jenny and Ingrid have decades of industry experience, and some of my teachers still work as nurses, bringing more knowledge to the classroom.”

Simone’s decision to return to study was made easier thanks to Fee-Free TAFE funding, which 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 enabled me to study for the diploma at no cost, and I’ve used the money I saved to help pay for the Bachelor of Nursing (HED007) through the TAFE Queensland; I'm grateful for all the support I’ve received during this journey,” she explained.

Simone decided to continue studying from the diploma to bachelor's with TAFE Queensland to become a registered nurse because of her fantastic study experience.

“I know how TAFE operates, and I like the practical learning and the family environment. I didn't want to attend a university where I was just a number – I want relationships with my teachers while studying for my bachelor's.”

“I also need to plan my family life around studying, and TAFE makes that easy for me because the nursing faculty supported me to pass when I fell pregnant during my studies,” she explained.

“Jen McDougal helped me to map out how I would progress through and complete the course material, so I was ready when my baby arrived - she's my guardian angel.”

“Thanks to her, I completed my practical lessons, went on placement and had my baby without delaying my studies. I travelled to Caboolture Campus to finish my Practical Lab hours and joined a South Bank Campus group to complete my Clinical Placement hours at St Andrew's Hospital, and I was signed off before the birth of my son.”

Now, with a desire to raise her family, graduate with her bachelor’s degree, become a registered nurse and one day work in community health, Simone recommends studying with TAFE Queensland.

“I’m here because TAFE Queensland made changing industries possible. My journey has been rewarding thanks to my teachers and the networks of like-minded classmates who all helped me.”

“Everyone here wants to help you on your journey – whether venturing into a new industry or fresh out of high school. They’re so supportive that your anxiety is quickly replaced by confidence and skills – and it's amazing how much and how quickly you learn.”