Moranbah local and TAFE Queensland Certificate III in Dental Assisting (HLT35015) student Paris Robinson represented the region at the Queensland Training Awards (QTA) on Friday 8 October 2021, after taking out the title of School-based Trainee of the Year at the Central Queensland regional final in July.
Paris said she was honoured to have her dedication to her training rewarded through such a prestigious event, and that she has already gained more experience and opportunities from her QTA experience than she thought possible.
“When I had found out I had won (the regional final), it was such a surreal moment – being that all my hard work and endeavours were recognised,” Paris said.
“While the event was held online, I felt closer to my community than ever. My family members and close friends across all of Australia watched in support as the announcements were made."
“Heading into the regional awards I was beyond grateful just to be considered a finalist in my category, so heading in as a finalist for the state award for my region feels beyond compare."
“I felt and still do feel immensely grateful to be given the opportunity to be a VET advocate and encourage others to seek out training. My experience as a school-based trainee has been nothing less than life-changing and by sharing my experience, I know I can change the lives of others,” she said.
Paris’s interest in pursuing a career in health care was sparked when she got her first job working as a sales assistant in the dispensary of her local pharmacy, and having seen the positive outcomes her sister Katie had achieved by undertaking a dental assistant school-based traineeship, decided to follow in her footsteps.
Paris undertook her qualification through distance education, submitting assignments through TAFE Queensland’s learning management system, Connect, and completing practical assessment observations via Skype. She completed her studies in July and has since been working part-time for her employer, DentalCareXtra.
“Living rurally and completing my qualification through distance education was far easier than I was expecting. My wonderful teachers were always readily available over email or phone for any matter I needed to discuss,” Paris said.
“I am so glad I did it because I not only have found my passion, but I am fortunate enough to be able to develop skills and further my study from such a young age.”
After gaining a head start on her career with TAFE Queensland, the 17-year-old Moranbah State High School student said she is planning to continue her studies with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery once she graduates from high school.
“My goal is to become a qualified practitioner working in regional areas in need of dental aid, then later, specialise in paediatric dentistry and teach kids the importance of good oral hygiene,” Paris explained.
“Gaining a Certificate III in Dental Assisting (HLT35015) prior to completing high school provides experience leading into university applications, an experience that certifies my motivation for dentistry and provided courses.”
TAFE Queensland General Manager (East Coast region) Ana Rodger said there is nothing more rewarding than seeing students like Paris excel in doing what they love most.
“TAFE Queensland is committed to providing its students with the knowledge and practical skills they need to succeed, so when Paris was selected from such an inspiring group of her peers and acknowledged on this scale for her passion, dedication, calibre, we felt her win as if it was our own,” Ms Rodger said.
“TAFE Queensland congratulates Paris on such a well-deserved regional win, and her nomination as a finalist at the Queensland Training Awards.”