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TAFE Queensland’s ‘Free TAFE for under 25s’ funding has seen a number of incredibly motivated and determined career-seekers enter vocational training for free or at a subsidised cost. Ronin Wilson is no exception and has an honest story – that will speak to many.

“Cooking calms me down – and settles my anxiety. Like whenever anything throws me off, and I feel down, I cook,” Ronin explained as to why he’s pursuing a career as a Chef, through an initial Certificate III in Hospitality (SIT30616) at TAFE Queensland’s South Bank campus.

Ronin’s anxiety saw him have panic attacks at university, when he was on a previous path to become an animator.

“Since I was six I dreamt of working in gaming, however, it used to be difficult for me to engage in study. I’d find myself having a severe panic attack each time I went to submit an assignment, to the point I just couldn’t do it. I had to let go of that dream, which was difficult. However, the environment and structure at TAFE Queensland has definitely helped me in that regard," said Ronin.

“The atmosphere and the people are the best here. My teachers, Deb and Catherine, are incredibly supportive. Deb is looking for opportunities for her students every chance she gets, and Catherine is the most enthusiastic teacher I’ve ever had. They also speak up when you could use some improvement, which has definitely helped me when I’ve been a little unsure about something.”

Working towards a career as a Chef wasn’t an ‘unfamiliar’ choice for Ronin, given his parents’ background in cooking.

“My dad was a Chef when I was younger, but I'd have to say the inspiration comes from both him and Mum. Mum is just as good at cooking, if not better. They'd both get me to help with dinner or lunch all the time. I'd always help make bolognese or lasagne...I guess it’s why I love Italian food so much.”

And, helping out wasn’t likely an easy task – Ronin is one of eight children, so no doubt mealtime was a high-pressure environment!

“My family are extremely supportive of my studies and my goals, and I think Dad is excited by the idea of having another trained Chef in the family,” Ronin added.

Ronin’s certificate III sees him on campus three times per week and includes a four-hour, hands on, real-life restaurant service during each session, and theory afterwards.

“We typically rotate what station we’re at, every shift, so we’re usually in the kitchen at least once per week…but I help out in there a bit more often."

“I'm exactly halfway through this certificate, I'll be done in September. I'm hoping to move right on to a Chef apprenticeship after. I’m really lucky to have found out about the Free TAFE for Under 25s subsidy path, as I’m from a low-income family (being one of eight kids) – I wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise,” shared Ronin.

When asked about whether he’d recommend TAFE Queensland career pathways to his peers, Ronin only positive things to say.

“TAFE is an amazing opportunity, just go for it. If you know the goal you want to achieve, TAFE is a sure-fire way to get there. I’m loving the whole experience.”


The State Government’s ‘Free TAFE for Under 25s’ funding initiative means training is more affordable than ever, with eligible Queenslanders now able to complete selected qualifications for free or at low cost, across a vast range of high priority training areas.

More about free TAFE for under 25s

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