Husband and father of four, Matthew Leitch immigrated to Australia from Utah around 10 years ago and has spent most of his working life within the sales industry.
"I've worked within the sales industry since 2003, mostly in management. Although I love meeting and talking with new people, and I was good at my job, I've never truly been happy with it," Matthew said.
Over the past four years Matthew has been undergoing various operations and battling health challenges impacting his career.
"Four years ago, after spending most of that year in and out of surgery, I had no choice but to resign my position and pull away from working full time. That lead to me playing a more active roll as a stay-at-home father," he said.
"This has given me the opportunity to think about my future goals, aspirations, achievements and about what's truly important to me."
"As I've had many opportunities to work with youth and children within various programs in my church over the past 20 years, and I've loved every minute of it, I feel that it's my calling to pursue a career in youth work. I have seen the struggles that youth are facing everyday and I want to help them realise their worth and reach their full potential," Matthew said.
Knowing he wanted to pursue a career in youth work, Matthew decided to further his knowledge by studying the Diploma of Youth Work (CHC50413). As part of his studies, he also applied for a TAFE Queensland Scholarship.
"I applied for a TAFE Queensland Scholarship to put towards my career goal in the youth work industry. I received a TAFE Queensland merit scholarship which has been a relief as it's helped alleviate the cost of my studies," he said.
"Studying at TAFE Queensland mostly online has allowed me the opportunity to study when I'm able to and work around my current situation. The teachers have also been very understanding and supportive."
Matthew's advice for those thinking about applying for a TAFE Queensland Scholarship is as simple as ABC.
"Just apply, you never know what can happen," Matthew said.
"One thing I always tell my children is to figure out what you want to do in life, what makes you happy, drives you, and gives you fulfillment — and then pursue it."
The TAFE Queensland Scholarship Program first launched in 2015 and has since awarded over $1 million in scholarships and helped more than 250 Queenslanders pursue their career goals.
Two types of scholarships are available. The first are merit scholarships aimed at supporting people who have demonstrated strong levels of achievement to advance their careers. The second are access and equity scholarships designed to help students who are battling social or financial hardship.
Scholarship recipients can choose to study a TAFE Queensland qualification from a certificate III through to advanced diploma level across various industries such as business, creative, health, hospitality, information technology, trades and many more.