“Each time we moved, I needed to change schools and the constant relocating meant my learning, friendships and life in general was disrupted,” says Belinda.
“Attending four different high schools in three years affected my education as I was always playing catch up, so I left school altogether when I was 16.”
Despite the disruption, Belinda was determined to find another educational pathway to get on track to her dream career of becoming a lawyer.
She approached TAFE Queensland in 2008 to enrol in the Certificate IV in Adult Tertiary Preparation (10765NAT) and began working towards gaining entry to university.
“Even though I wasn’t an adult, TAFE Queensland’s incredibly supportive teachers helped me to enrol, study and graduate with the highest overall position possible to get into university, which led me to enrolling to study law at just 17-years-old,” explains Belinda.
Adult Tertiary Preparation (ATP) is an ideal alternative to high school for people like Belinda who want to learn and develop essential study skills to enrol in university.
While ATP’s core units set Belinda up for academic studies, she was also able to tailor her electives towards her passion for law, helping to set her up to become the lawyer she is today.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my ATP legal studies as they galvanised my decision that becoming a lawyer was right for me,” she explains.
“My ATP classes were designed in a practical and real-world based way and combined theoretical and assessments that were both relevant and helpful to studying law at university.”
Belinda also credits her like-minded classmates and teachers for helping her during her studies, with everyone contributing to her positive student experience.
“It was so refreshing to study with others who were on the same wavelength as me in a mature, professional and flexible environment where you are responsible and accountable.”
“We were all focused on graduating and going to university so we would help and challenge each other and forged close friendships along the way,” recalls Belinda.
“Our highly knowledgeable teachers also went above and beyond to provide support, encouragement and assistance to help me graduate - they were absolutely fantastic and central to my success.”
Since graduating from TAFE Queensland, Belinda has completed a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice while being admitted to the Roll of Solicitors at the Supreme Court of Queensland.
Now working as a lawyer on the Sunshine Coast, Belinda is also the principal of her own firm while continuing to study specialised legal qualifications to further her career.
“I can’t say enough positive things about TAFE Queensland. Through ATP, I was able to catch up on my education, reach my goals at a young age and work in an industry I’m passionate about,” concludes Belinda.