Less than six months after completing her training with TAFE Queensland at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute and just one year since graduating from high school, the 19-year-old has gained a qualification and landed a job as a personal carer at a local aged care facility – without the accumulating the financial burden usually associated with tertiary study.
Miss Paine says she was drawn to the health care industry from a young age thanks to her desire to help others, and when she came across TAFE Queensland’s Certificate III in Individual Support, it ticked all the boxes.
“After reading about the course I would have done it regardless, but to find out it was covered as part of the Year 12 Fee-free initiative was awesome,” said Miss Paine.
“It gave me a chance to find out what a career in the industry would be like, and the way the program was set out was great; the theory really prepared you for the job but putting it into practice was completely different to what I was expecting, so it was great to have that practical experience.”
After completing her vocational placement in the aged care facility, Miss Paine says she knew she’d found the right career for her, and when she saw a job opening she was able to use her experience to get the role.
“I initially started out wanting to work as a personal carer while I continued studying to become a nurse, but this course taught me a lot about myself and what I really wanted to do."
“Helping others do things that most of us take for granted on a daily basis has made me realise how lucky we are and I feel honoured that I now get to help make life a little easier for them.”
Under the State Government initiative, year 12 graduates who enrol in a high priority qualification within 12 months of leaving school are eligible to receive their course free.
Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said certificate III qualifications in high priority industries such as engineering, early childhood, aged care and electro technology were among the list of options available to school-leavers.
“The Queensland Government is committed to tackling unemployment and increasing workforce participation in communities throughout the state, and this initiative will see young Queenslanders starting their careers with the skills they need,” Minister Fentiman said.
“Training is an excellent pathway for year 12 school leavers and this initiative will allow students to get a head start to their career without worrying about a VET student loan after graduating.”
TAFE Queensland – East Coast region acting general manager Mark Reilly said that while the most popular of the subsidised courses offered at the organisation’s Sunshine Coast campuses last year were in the areas of health support services and hospitality, there were plenty of options available through the State Government initiative.
“The health care sector is currently experiencing a shortage and there is currently a high demand for skilled hospitality workers on the Sunshine Coast; however reports show areas such as retail and construction are also forecast to grow on the Coast over the next five years and will require skilled workers to fill vacant positions,” Mr Reilly said.
“The beauty of this initiative is that it provides a great pathway into further study and employment. It gives students a chance to get a feel for their future career and gain valuable experience without getting stuck studying something they don’t feel passionate about for three or four years.”