Personalise my view
Personalise my view

😊 Personalise my view

We use cookies, including those from third-party providers, to enhance your online experience and deliver personalised advertisements. By using our website, you consent to our use of cookies and our privacy policy

Tameika — a caring and inspiration two-time award winner

If you need a bit of extra inspiration to pursue the career you’ve always wanted, make a pivot, or get back into the workforce, let us introduce you to Tameika Brett.

Tameika was recently named ‘Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year’ at the TAFE Queensland Toowoomba graduation ceremony. She also won the ‘Encouragement Award’ in her field of study – Individual Support

Tameika's story is one of extraordinary resilience and determination. As a mature student, she has not only excelled academically, earning two prestigious awards, but she has also balanced her studies with her role as a mother of five and grandmother of five. Her journey is made even more inspiring by her brave battle with multiple sclerosis.

“It's taken me eight years to get back on my feet. There was a period of time when I was bedridden, my daughter used to bathe me, dress me, everything. Then, at one stage, the children were going to leave school to look after me. I said ‘No — you’re going to finish Year 12!’” Tameika began.

“So, I learnt to drag myself along the floor and dress myself again. I had to learn how to talk, and eventually, walk again. I can now drive.”

Prior to her diagnosis, Tameika had worked in hospitals and nursing homes, and for the Queensland Police Service, but she was keen to gain a formal qualification to further build upon her previous experience.

In 2023, Tameika chose to study a Certificate III in Individual Support (CHC33015/CHC33021) at TAFE Queensland’s Toowoomba campus, after being encouraged by a representative from local community organisation, Wesbro Services.

Tameika’s motivation to study was deeply rooted in empathy. Her goal was to support others who were facing life-changing challenges, drawing from her own experiences.

“I'm going to look after people like me because I know how hard it is — every day is a challenge. But I love, love learning. It's been years because I've had a family — I've always just concentrated on my family,” said Tameika.

“And now in the last year, and this year, it's about me doing something for me and my goals and what I want in life. I just feel really good about myself for these achievements,” she beamed.

“I want to inspire my own people. I want to encourage people to get out there and achieve their career goals.”

“And especially too, with the government's Fee-Free TAFE, the cost of learning doesn't have to be a barrier.”

“I think the problem is that people are scared. I remember my first day. The night before I was saying to my family ‘I'm scared’ and they're like, ‘Everyone's going to love you’,” shared Tameika.

And loved her they did. TAFE Queensland’s Health, Communities and Education Educational Team Leader, Shelley Haynes, and Indigenous Student Support Officer, Tammy Rasmussen, shared about Tameika’s high level of diligence and persistence in her training.

“Tameika, while receiving ongoing medical treatment and with the daily challenges this presented, remained focused and maintained an impeccable attendance rate throughout her course,” said Shelley.

“She was tenacious and persistent, with her determination being inspirational to others in the class,” explained Tammy 

“Furthermore, as an Indigenous woman, Tameika displays cultural practices at all levels in everything she does, whether at TAFE Queensland or within the wider community,” added Tammy

Now Tameika is taking the next step in her study journey. She has recently commenced the Fee-Free TAFE course, Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention (CHC40321), and is gaining further skills to complement her community-based role supporting young people at risk in Toowoomba.