Seventeen-year-old Tara Cave dropped out of high school in Year 11. After some encouragement from a former manager, she decided to enrol in the SEE Program at TAFE Queensland.
“I had depression and anxiety and it got really bad in that school environment, so I decided to leave,” Tara said.
“I also had a job that I lost because my anxiety got in the way, but the manager there told me that his daughter had gone through the SEE Program and it helped boost her confidence, so I took that recommendation.”
The SEE Program is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, and provides up to 650 hours of free language, literacy and numeracy training to eligible job seekers. The specialised course provides practical skills that are tailored to participants’ abilities, goals and interests.
It was through this program that Tara met TAFE Queensland’s Gympie Essential Skills Teacher Libby Salmon. In addition to imparting skills and knowledge, Libby has been a figure of support. With her guidance, Tara has developed the confidence to pursue her dream career.
“Libby is like my rock – she’s just amazing. She’s so easy to talk to and supportive, and she’s kind of become more like family than a teacher,” Tara said.
“At the start of 2018, Libby was telling everyone about the different courses available through TAFE Queensland. She told me about the Certificate II in Retail Cosmetics, which I thought sounded perfect for me.
“I really enjoyed the course. I did the course one day a week and then every other day I was in the SEE Program, which was really great because Libby was able to support me through my studies.”
Tara completed her Certificate II in Retail Cosmetics (SHB20116) at TAFE Queensland’s Gympie campus in 2018. While she is still participating in the SEE Program, she is in the process of upgrading her qualification to a Certificate III in Make-Up (SHB30215) at the Mooloolaba campus, with the goal of someday working in film and television.
“I’ve always been creative, but not in your traditional artistic way like painting, and I discovered make-up was a really good way to express that,” Tara said.
“Whenever I’ve watched movies I’m just fascinated with it. I think Avatar was one of the first movies I looked at and thought, ‘I want to know how to do that’.”
With the guidance of her teachers, Tara is developing the knowledge, skills and confidence she needs to accomplish her goal. Though her studies are still in progress, she is excited about the future.
“TAFE is definitely a more comfortable, adult environment and I feel like I can talk to the teachers and students better – I’m treated more like an equal, which I love.
“I work really well with the teachers and when we talk, I feel like we can pinpoint what needs to be worked on and they just focus on that and help me with what I need to develop more – I always feel comfortable about being honest with where I’m at.
“To have the opportunity to work with some of the people I have, as well as the equipment in the salons, has been amazing.”
The Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.