Sharon is a current Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising (MST60116) student who assists female prisoners as they work towards achieving a trade qualification.
Sharon's vision is to teach prisoners as many new skills as she can and provide meaningful work for the women while they're inside the prison.
“As a means of rehabilitation, giving the women something to work towards that will make their chance of securing a job when they leave is so important and worthwhile,” said Sharon.
“In addition to being part of the prisons sewing workshop, I'm also a qualified hairdresser. When I return to Brisbane in October I hope to use all of my skills to establish a course at the centre that allows prisoners to receive formal qualifications in both fashion and hairdressing.”
While in Japan, Sharon will study alternative approaches to fashion design and advanced patternmaking at Bunka Gakuen University. The university is a leading fashion design college and home to one of Tokyo’s most impressive fashion museums.
The study abroad scholarship will allow Sharon to challenge herself, develop a broader understanding of the industry, and foster networks that she hopes will ultimately assist the prisoners she works with.
“I am so grateful that TAFE Queensland has provided me with the opportunity to further my skills through their programs. To be able to provide those same opportunities to the prisoners is really exciting,” she said.
BWCC General Manager Darryll Fleming said that Sharon’s drive to help prisoners through formal qualification exemplifies the commitment that QCS has to rehabilitate prisoners and give them the skills to return to society.
“Around 87 per cent of women prisoners are victims of domestic violence and many of them have never had a structure to their lives or worked before,” Mr Fleming said.
“We take a trauma-informed approached to helping our prisoners. Through the formalised training that Sharon is able to give the women, they are able to leave our care with a formal qualification that can lead them to meaningful employment.”
“We are so lucky that Sharon is able to train these women in two different areas — the difference it will make to the lives of these women will be immeasurable.”
In conjunction with the Australian Government’s Australia Awards - Endeavour Leadership program, TAFE Queensland offers students a variety of Study Abroad programs each year. By the end of 2019, 330 students will have studied overseas as part of their studies with TAFE Queensland since the program started in 2014.
TAFE Queensland International Executive Director Janelle Chapman said Study Abroad programs offer students incredibly rewarding and rare real-life learning experiences.
“All Study Abroad programs contribute to course requirements and credits towards qualifications and are a great way for students to gain valuable hands-on work experience,” Ms Chapman said.
“Our wonderful teachers also travel with students to not only assess their learning but also to work alongside them and ensure they are safe, supported and set up for success.
“We are very proud of our students and teachers as they volunteer their time and take their skills abroad to help communities in need throughout the world,” she said.
Student grants are made possible with support from the Australian Government’s Australia Awards - Endeavour Leadership Program.