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After a traumatic car accident left Sarah Vohland needing help to recover, the then childhood educator discovered the world of working in care and decided to make it her career.

“I spent almost six months needing help and when I came out of it, I had a burning desire to help others like how I was helped,” said Sarah.

“I wanted to be there for people who can’t do everyday things for themselves because I know how awful it can be and how important assisting those in need is,” she said.

With her newfound calling, the mother of two began studying art therapy at university, but found the course and the structure of learning uninspiring.

“I prefer learning when doing stuff and I found I wasn’t retaining the information from the university lectures which I also found boring and time consuming.”

When a palliative care nurse visited her lecture to talk about using art therapy to care for people in the final stages of life, Sarah was inspired and decided to change her training to become a palliative nurse.

“After recovering from my accident, I knew I wanted to help those in need, but I wasn’t totally sure which area of community services I wanted to work in. But after the palliative nurse shared their experiences with my class, I knew what I wanted my career to be,” she said.

Deciding to study the Certificate III in Individual Support - Ageing, Home and Community (CHC33015) through TAFE Queensland wasn’t hard for Sarah, with staff making her enrolment easy.

In addition, Sarah’s qualification is now more affordable thanks to new joint Federal and State Government JobTrainer funding which aims to support Queenslanders in developing the skills they need to gain employment in high-demand occupations. In Sarah’s case, it’s helping her to become a palliative nurse by significantly reducing the cost of het training.

JobTrainer assists school leavers and job seekers alike in entering high-priority skills areas such as healthcare, mental health, community services, early childhood, and cyber security — which, according to recent LinkedIn data, are among the top 15 jobs on the rise in 2021.

“I knew what I wanted to study but I had no idea how I’d pay for it. JobTrainer has been a huge relief, and I wouldn’t be here without it. The investment in my education is taken care of and I can put my focus into my studies and my family,” said Sarah.

Since starting in February, Sarah says her skills and confidence have grown through TAFE Queensland’s hands-on practical training in its industry-standard facilities.

“Studying at TAFE Queensland makes me feel so alive. We have theory each morning and practical lessons in the labs in the afternoons where the teachers challenge us with different real-world scenarios,” she said.

“Our teachers show us how something is done then my classmates and I take turns doing it, supporting each other along the way with our teacher nearby to give us guidance as we attempt it.”

“The way we’re taught here suits me, and TAFE doesn’t take as long as university so I can start working sooner.”

Sarah's course provides guest speakers from the industry and previous students who are in their first year of work to give insights into what to expect when entering in the industry.

“I’m on the right path and I’m getting the right help to get to where I want to be with great people in some fantastic facilities. I didn’t expect to learn in a miniature hospital with simulated patients — it’s amazing!”

Sarah has a realistic outlook on her career in palliative care, and is under no illusions about what her career will entail when she starts as a nurse in the field.

“I have no fantasies about what’s ahead of me — it’s an intense but rewarding part of life that people need help with.”

“I feel I’m learning the skills to support people with compassion, empathy and dignity in their final stages and help their families get through the grieving process. It costs nothing to show someone you care.”


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TAFE Queensland