Diane lands her dream ca­reer through TAFE

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

For Diane Gray, pas­sion is the dif­fer­ence be­tween hav­ing a job and hav­ing a ca­reer.

Ms Gray’s road to find­ing her dream ca­reer had plenty of de­tours — mar­riage at a young age, chil­dren and an un­di­ag­nosed hear­ing im­pair­ment that was mis­taken for a learn­ing dif­fi­culty.

But in 2006, aged 43, Ms Gray took a deep breath, walked through the doors of TAFE NSW Fin­ley and en­rolled in a Cer­tifi­cate III in In­di­vid­ual Sup­port (Age­ing). It was a de­ci­sion that would change the tra­jec­tory of her life.

As a ma­ture aged stu­dent, she thrived in the learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment, grad­u­at­ing with fly­ing colours in 2008 and even win­ning the Ber­ri­gan Shire Award for Out­stand­ing Ef­fort.

She was hooked, con­tin­u­ing her jour­ney by com­plet­ing an Ad­vanced Diploma in En­rolled Nurs­ing at TAFE NSW the fol­low­ing year.

Within the space of a few years, Ms Gray had gone from hav­ing crip­pling doubts about study­ing to be­com­ing a star stu­dent and en­rolled nurse.

She was even of­fered a job at Fin­ley Re­gional Care as an aged care nurse and has now risen to be­come team leader.

At a time when a ca­reer pivot is the new norm — to­day’s school leavers are ex­pected to av­er­age five sep­a­rate ca­reers in their life­time — Ms Gray hopes her story will in­spire oth­ers to re­train with TAFE NSW and pur­sue their pas­sion.

‘‘I loved TAFE and I dis­cov­ered a love for learn­ing I didn’t know I had. The teach­ers were ab­so­lutely amaz­ing and so help­ful, they re­ally made it so much eas­ier,’’ she said.

Ms Gray en­cour­aged oth­ers to con­sider their own ca­reer re­nais­sance by study­ing aged care.

‘‘There’s such a huge short­age of aged care work­ers in the re­gions and it re­ally is a priv­i­lege to be able to look af­ter older peo­ple,’’ she said.

‘‘You get such a feel­ing of sat­is­fac­tion and pride.’’

TAFE NSW head teacher of com­mu­nity ser­vices and age­ing, Kel­lie Harmer, said the aged care sec­tor was “cry­ing out” for skilled work­ers.

‘‘This ca­reer re­ally suits peo­ple who are car­ing by na­ture and will­ing to spend time to talk to older peo­ple,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber they were once young too and they have so much life ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge.’’

Ms Harmer said the Cer­tifi­cate III In­di­vid­ual Sup­port (Age­ing) was a 12-month course that of­fered a blend of face-to-face and on­line learn­ing, with stu­dents at­tend­ing classes in per­son one or two days a week.

En­rol­ments are still open for the course in se­mes­ter two at TAFE NSW Fin­ley. To find out more, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.

Diane Gray with Fin­ley Re­gional Care res­i­dent Rene Groe­nen.

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