Living through a difficult childhood gave Ashleigh a burning desire to protect at-risk children.
“Life wasn’t easy after my parents divorced and my mother remarried a man who was emotionally, mentally and physically abusive towards me,” said Ashleigh.
“The abuse became my new normal and even my mother turned abusive and would refer to it as discipline to excuse herself.”
“I was out of home at age 15 with little self-esteem and by 17-years-old I found myself homeless, however I still managed to put myself through high school and obtain a senior certificate.”
Now at 30-years-old, Ashleigh has almost finished her Diploma of Child, Youth and Family Intervention (CHC50313) based at the Southport campus thanks to receiving a TAFE Queensland Scholarship last year.
“The scholarship has put me on the path to achieve my life goal of preventing what happen to me from becoming another child's reality,” said Ashleigh.
“Not only have I learnt so much about myself and grown as a person throughout the course but I have gained so much knowledge and skills about the industry and I know protecting vulnerable youth is the direction I want to take.”
“There were moments where I wanted to drop out of study but my amazing teachers supported and encouraged me to keep going and I am so thankful for them because now I am so close to graduating.”
The TAFE Queensland Scholarship Program provides each recipient with up to $5,000 to help cover the costs of studying.
Ashleigh said the scholarship funding helped her to buy a laptop, text books and pay for living expenses while studying.
The TAFE Queensland Scholarship Program first launched in 2015 and has since awarded over $1.4million; helping more than 300 Queenslanders pursue their careers goals.
TAFE Queensland General Manager on the Gold Coast, Karen Dickinson said the scholarships provide an opportunity for Gold Coaster’s to develop their skills and gain a qualification to secure jobs in some of the state’s largest and fastest growing industries.
“We know the power vocational education has to change people’s lives and help them achieve extraordinary things,” she said.
Scholarship recipients can choose to study at any TAFE Queensland campus and enrol into qualifications from a certificate III through to Advanced Diploma level across various industries including business, creative, health, hospitality, information technology, trades and many more.
Ms Dickinson said an average of 600 applications were received each year and encouraged anyone looking to start their career or make a career change to apply now.
Applications for a TAFE Queensland scholarship to commence study in semester one, 2021 are now open and close on 27 August 2020.