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Young achievers

Honing your skills at TAFE is a great way to fast-track your own career success

For most of us mere mortals it usually takes years and years to achieve even modest goals. But some people manage to hit the big time at a remarkably young age. Call it talent, call it timing, call it luck, or a combination of many different factors.

To mark National Youth Week 2016, we've rounded up an assortment of well-known and well-loved Aussies from a wide range of fields. Whether they're sportspeople, writers, singers, comedians or actors, these 10 Australian men and women have one thing in common - they all made their big breakthrough at a remarkably young age.

Kylie Kwong

Kylie Kwong

As a third generation Chinese Australian, Kylie Kwong learned about Cantonese cooking from her mother and went on to open her first restaurant, Billy Kwong in Sydney, while still in her 20s. She is now a well-respected chef, television presenter and author.

Keith Urban

One of Australia's most successful country crooners, Urban achieved national and international fame at the tender age of 23 when he released his debut album in 1991 titled simply Keith Urban. "Mr Kidman" hasn't looked back since.

Toni Collette

One of our most versatile actors, Collette was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in 1994 for her iconic breakthrough role, the frumpy Muriel Heslop in Muriel's Wedding. She was just 22 at the time.

Errol Flynn

Our original Hollywood movie star, Tasmanian-born Flynn became known for his romantic swashbuckling roles. He scored his first big role on the silver screen in 1934 in the film Captain Blood, when he was 24 years old.

Cathy Freeman

Australia's fastest woman, Freeman is best remembered for winning gold in the women's 400m at the Sydney Olympics and for lighting the flame. She was a Commonwealth Games gold medalist in 1990 at the tender age of 16.

Slim Dusty

David Gordon Kirkpatrick was Australia's most iconic singer-songwriter. In 1945 he wrote ‘When the rain tumbles down in July' and released his first record at the age of 19, signing his first contract with Columbia a year later.

Magda Szubanski

Comedian/actress Szubanski is best known for her portrayal of bogan Sharon Strzelecki in TV's Kath and Kim. She made her first breakthrough as a 24-year-old when ABC producers snapped her up for The D-Generation.

Don Bradman

The legendary Australian cricketer's name is still invoked with reverential awe. He was just 12 years old when he hit his first century and 18 when he was headhunted by the New South Wales Cricket Association.

Kylie Minogue

The "Princess of Pop" won an unprecedented four Logie awards in 1987 when she was just 19, cementing the public's idolatry of her. She recorded her cover of ‘The Loco-Motion' the following year.

Tim Winton

Winton's first novel An Open Swimmer was published in 1981 when he was 21, and won The Australian/Vogel Literary Award. His writing career has been on an upward trajectory ever since.