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Education gives us choices, improves our self-confidence and
ensures we are more capable of dealing with life
Jumping into study can be daunting, but when you have been out of the
game for 35 years it can be petrifying! Doubts start creeping in, you
tell yourself you're not smart enough or you're too old to start all
over again. This fear may be robbing you of the career you've always
wanted. That's what Patricia McGrath found when she toyed with the
idea of heading back to study after a long break from education.
We sat down with the TAFE Illawarra graduate to understand how she
plucked up the courage to commit to her career challenge.
When I was a child I remember wanting to be a superhero. I even
designed my costume!
I decided I wanted to help people and began looking into courses that
would give me job satisfaction. There was a lot of fear before setting
out, fear I wouldn't keep up with the course work or that it would all
be too hard. I wanted to ease back in to study, so I enrolled in the
CEEW course (Careers
Education and Employment for Women) at Wollongong TAFE. It
helped build my confidence enough to move on to Communications 1, 2
and 3 and finally in to my career defining courses, a Certificate
III in Health Services Assistance and Certificate
III in Individual Support (Disability), both at Shellharbour TAFE.
Being a single mother, affordability and time constraints were big
concerns. The child friendly study timetable corresponded with school
terms, and the fees were within my means. However the biggest factor
in choosing TAFE NSW was the qualification and employment potential it
The CEEW course was my first experience studying at TAFE and it was
very positive. I finished school at 15, married at 19 and had four
children. I hadn't worked outside of the family home for a very long
time; I lacked confidence and direction. The teachers in the CEEW
course mentored, encouraged and inspired me to believe in myself and
helped me find independence through education.
In fact, I found that same encouragement and inspiration in all of
the courses I completed at TAFE. The teachers genuinely care and want
to see their students reach their potential.
At TAFE you are required to get ‘on the job' experience, which I
completed with Warrigal
Care. Seven years later I'm still working with the company! I also
work with Interchange
Illawarra, giving respite to careers of people with a disability.
I am in a job that I love and I get to live out my childhood dream of
being a super hero (but without a fancy red cape). In my role as an
Aged Care and Disability Support Worker, I get to help the frail and
vulnerable people in our community, just like Superman..
Education gives us choices, improves our self-confidence and ensures
we are more capable of dealing with life. As a woman who lacked
education and had little work experience I procrastinated in making
major life choices -afraid- because I did not feel I had the ability
to be financially independent and to provide adequately for myself and
my family. TAFE gave me the ability to be financially independent and
have confidence in myself