But after some encouragement from his wife and daughter, and support from his classmates, he’s now training towards his dream job in disability support.
“I’ve always loved working with the disabled through helping them feel human, teaching them to do everyday things and just help them enjoy their life,” explains Russell.
He’s enjoyed working with them for most of his working life, after caring for them around his usual day job.
“I haven’t got the patience for a lot of things, but when it comes to the disabled, I’ve got all the patience in the world. It’s the most satisfying work I’ve ever done. I love seeing them do something for the first time and watching them light up is amazing for me.”
Due to the pandemic, Russell decided to make helping those in need his main job. But every prospective employer told him to get work he needed to get qualified.
“I hadn’t studied since high school, so the idea of training at my age was very daunting,” he says.
While apprehensive about enrolling to study at 65 years of age, his wife and daughter encouraged him to reach out to TAFE Queensland and enquire.
"When I contacted TAFE to get more information, I was surprised at how supportive the staff were and how easy it was for me to enrol, age really wasn’t a barrier at all," said Russell.
Now studying Certificate III in Individual Support - Ageing, Home and Community (CHC33015), he’s overwhelmed at the support he’s still receiving.
“Learning to use computers has been a challenge, but my classmates and I go to the library between classes and they teach me how to make the most of them.”
Russell also loves learning hands-on in the state-of-the-art lab because his teachers make understanding the course content so easy that he’s confident about getting work after finishing.
The combination of hands-on learning and computer lessons are paying off, as he’s able to submit assignments on time and he’s noticed his knowledge and skills are rapidly developing.
“Every day here is a step closer to getting the job I really want. This is the right place for me to learn and the lab is like a small hospital and it’ll help me easily transition to placement.”
“My training is going so well that I was able to have a chat in medical terminology with the nurse who gave me a flu jab – I was surprised at how quickly I’m developing.”
He’s now determined to finish the course and can see how the skills he’s learning will benefit his community by helping those in need – whether that’s in a hospital or an aged care facility.
“Thanks to the quality of my training, I know I’ll get a job once I finish because there is so much need for carers out there at the moment.”
“I may have taken the long road to get here, but this is my calling, and I’m looking forward to helping others in need.”
“Training at my age can be daunting, but if I can do it, anyone can. Everyone at TAFE Queensland has really looked after me and been so helpful in helping me to achieve my overall goal.”