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Taylor Wolf had never considered going to university. But a whim at a dental appointment lead her to TAFE Queensland and a certificate qualification, then onto a degree, and now she's getting ready to pass on her skills and knowledge to the next generation.

When 28-year-old Taylor was at school, she never considered going to university or even getting a certificate qualification.

"I only had my Queensland Certificate of Education. I didn't actually have an OP that allowed me to get into university," she said.

"It was only on a whim at a dental appointment that I was recommended to get my Certificate III, but apart from that I didn't really have any life goals or anything like that."

In 2016 Taylor completed a Certificate III in Dental Assisting (HLT35015) at TAFE Queensland with a Certificate 3 Guarantee subsidy, meaning her upfront study costs were significantly reduced. But it was her teachers that really helped uncover a passion for the industry.

"My first ever TAFE teacher was a standout teacher. She really helped me find my love and passion for dental. She was great," said Taylor.

"Hands-on training was a huge part of it because, obviously, we're working with real people, we're in their mouth. You don't really want to try suction on the person, a real patient for the first time, so it was good getting that hands-on experience before going out," she continued.

"I think [the teachers] put you over the edge because most of the time, you just get the theory and then you go out, but here, you get the theory, you get to put it into practice, and then you get to go out."

"And the facilities at TAFE Queensland are top-notch. They are of the highest standard, everything is top of the range."

That wasn't the only support Taylor received though, she also accessed TAFE Queensland's AccessAbility program through our student support services.

"I can't see that well and they provided support which is good and made my TAFE journey a lot easier," she said.

Having her certificate qualification and a new-found love for dental work got Taylor into university where she completed a Bachelor of Oral Health, something she'd once thought impossible.

"Looking back it feels a little bit weird because I didn't really have it all set out at all. Now, I have a bachelor's degree and I see patients, I have an offer number, I have a radiation license, which if you think about it in the grand scheme of things, it's really bizarre," said Taylor.

"In the next 5 to 10 years I definitely want to be lecturing or tutoring. Hopefully, either here at TAFE Queensland in their Dental Assisting Program, or at a university teaching the hygiene side of preventative care."

It's that desire to teach that has brought Taylor back to TAFE Queensland again, this time to complete a JobTrainer funded Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40116).

"Being able to share my experiences with new people going into the industry, especially if they've never been in it before, I can give them a bit of a heads up instead of just throwing them straight into the deep end. On paper, they do recommend certain things, but in real life, it's completely different," said Taylor.

"The dental industry is a different industry every day. Sometimes it's checkup and clean, sometimes it's toothaches, sometimes it's full mouth trauma. It's always a new day every day, which basically keeps it interesting."

So what would Taylor say to other kids that are finishing high school and don't really have plans and might be in that same position?

"I definitely recommend browsing the TAFE Queensland website, having a look at all their options because something might pique their interest, and then give it a go. You don't know unless you give it a go," she said.

"Greatness means to me is going out, giving it a go, getting it done, and helping people that need to be helped."

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TAFE Queensland