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TAFE scholarships enable a new start during period of job uncertainty

A joint campaign between Kangan Institute and Melbourne’s GOLD104.3 The Christian O’Connell Show offered radio listeners an opportunity to pursue a TAFE course with full course fees covered though a scholarship program earlier this year.

Applicants were asked to choose their preference from nine courses, including veterinary nursing and pathology, and cite their reasons for pursuing TAFE studies. Six successful candidates were selected after an interview.

Massage therapist Belinda McLeod applied for the scholarship wanting career stability during the COVID-19 pandemic, after having commenced the Certificate III in Pathology Collection at the Moonee Ponds campus this term.

“I was looking for something in the health industry that could still operate during these uncertain times,” she said.

“I have been doing massage for 11 years and working for myself. Unfortunately, with all the lockdowns since COVID started I have not been able to work for nine months so it has been very stressful.”

Receiving the scholarship was an unexpected bonus for the 48-year-old who is now able to pursue her love for learning whilst diversifying her career options.

“I’ve always loved learning new things. Due to COVID-19 and the lack of income I would not have had the spare cash to do this course without the scholarship,” said Ms McLeod.

“After I finish the pathology course I would like to incorporate working in this field with doing massage. By adding another string to my bow I’ll be building greater security for my future.”

Scholarship recipient Narelle Kerruish also started pathology training this term in a move to change her life after being hospitalised for a period of time.

“I was a person that thrived on stress and carried out a multitude of roles throughout my working life, from dental assistant to courier to receptionist,” she said.

“My body had taken as much stress as it could and after a very traumatic year in 2018, I woke up in the hospital being told that I had been in a coma for three days after multiple cardiac arrests.”

Ms Kerruish says the scholarship has given her the confidence to pursue a new direction in life.

“I am now in my next chapter in life. After spending all that time in the hospital I’d like to be someone who can bring a smile to patients while taking their blood samples,” she said.

“Studying again is going to be different, but I am looking forward to challenging myself, and becoming a useful member of society again.

“I am so grateful to have won this scholarship, it has given me the confidence to put my dreams into action. Thank you Kangan and GOLD104.3."

Passionate about wildlife care and rehabilitation, the scholarship has also given Broadmeadows campus’ veterinary nursing student and scholarship recipient, Emily Humphreys the confidence to pursue her career aspirations.

“I previously undertook the Certificate III in Animal Studies and was interested in furthering my knowledge within the animal industry, but age and circumstances prevented me from continuing studies until I heard about this opportunity,” said Ms Humphreys.

“This scholarship has encouraged me and has given me the confidence to pursue my career aspirations within the animal care industry.”

Ms Humphreys hopes her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing studies will lead her to working with wildlife.

“You’re never too old to learn new skills,” she said.

“I love how the course is expanding my knowledge in animal care and across a wide range of animals; the teaching staff at Kangan are very engaging and encouraging. I am also enjoying meeting likeminded people and sharing knowledge and stories about animals.”

Kangan Institute chief executive Sally Curtain said the scholarship program supports and enables students to choose and pursue a meaningful career.

“Vocational education is an important part of Victoria’s post-COVID recovery and Kangan Institute is proud to support students to be trained and skilled for the jobs of tomorrow through our unique partnership with GOLD104.3,” said Ms Curtain.

“Congratulations to our six scholars – we’re thrilled to see them fulfil their aspirations, and we look forward to helping them achieve their vocational goals.”

Ms Curtain said that the scholarship initiative was inspired by the TAFE’s ‘Our Heroes’ advertising campaign.

“We believe our students are heroes for what they achieve and go on to be through their training at Kangan Institute, and we wanted to give more people the opportunity to be our heroes,” she said.

The scholarship recipients are pursuing courses in pathology, logistics, veterinary nursing and justice study areas, with programs based at Broadmeadows and Moonee Ponds campuses.

To learn more about Kangan Institute courses visit https://www.kangan.edu.au/.

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