TAFE at School student Megan Cotter was always confident she would seek a career in health and follow in the footsteps of her great-grandfather, a World War II medic.
“I knew from a young age, that like my great-grandfather I want to care for people by working in health and I also want to him to be proud that I am following a similar path to his,” said Megan.
“What I didn’t know was which field in health I was most interested in and how to go about discovering exactly what I want to do.”
Fate intervened in 2017 when Megan’s Year 10 class received a visit from a TAFE Queensland advisor who introduced them to the TAFE at School program.
Megan was immediately interested in the health support services courses, which offer foundation skills in health care and can be used as a springboard into further study in this field.
“I started my Certificate II in Health Support Services (HLT23215) at the start of Year 11 and I loved the course from the very first day,” said Megan.
“The TAFE at School program has opened up a new world for me that I didn’t know existed.
“I sometimes struggle to get out of bed to go to school, but on my TAFE at School days I am up early and ready to go.”
Megan attributes her new-found passion for learning to the relaxed and mature environment, being around like-minded classmates and the hands-on nature of the course.
“There can be some rivalry between some of the local high schools, but that doesn’t exist in our classroom," she said.
“The learning environment is so mature and inclusive that those inter-school barriers have fallen away and our entire class has bonded and become a really tight-knit group."
“We are also lucky to have a fantastic teacher, who is an experienced nurse and who teaches us in a way that is fun and interesting.”
After completing her certificate II in Year 11, Megan signed on to study the Certificate III in Health Services Assistance (HLT33115) in Year 12.
Students undertaking the certificate III must undertake 80 hours of work placement during the second half of the year—providing the opportunity to put theory into practice in a safe and supervised environment.
“I have been on placement once a week at an aged care facility since July and this experience has opened my eyes to a lot,” said Megan.
“The hands-on experience has accelerated my learning and I’ve realised just how much I enjoy caring for and helping people."
“I have also been amazed by how much of an impact one person can have in the lives of others."
As for her future study and career path, it's much more certain now.
“I am now certain I will pursue a career in nursing and have applied to several different universities to undertake a Bachelor of Nursing starting in 2020," she said.
“It’s an exciting time for me and I can’t wait for this year to be over and for the next stage of my life and career to begin.”