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Alternate HSC pathway to health careers for Newcastle sisters

TAFE NSW Glendale

Alternate HSC pathway to health careers for Newcastle sisters

Monday 23 October

TAFE NSW graduates are proving that the HSC is not the only pathway to studying even the most competitive health degrees at university.

According to recent figures released by the NSW Education Standards Authority on last year’s HSC cohort, one in 10 students struggle with pain, concentration issues or anxiety disorder. 

Newcastle sisters Erin and Kate Parker know first-hand how taxing the senior high school years can be, finding themselves unable to stay at school to complete their HSC due to health issues.

However, after opting for the TAFE NSW equivalent, the Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation, the pair has gone on to follow their dreams of studying health-related subjects after receiving ATAR equivalents exceeding 99/100.

The Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation (TPC) is a university preparation course that gives students a tertiary entrance score and entrance to university without the HSC. It is well-suited to students who, for various reasons, don’t suit a traditional high school environment, and can be completed in just one year.

“This pathway into university is little-known yet extremely successful,” said TAFE NSW Career Pathways Head Teacher Julie Reeves.

“The personalised support given to our students in a mature learning environment means graduates are well-placed to jump straight into university or other TAFE NSW courses and thrive, regardless of personal obstacles.”

Erin, a Bachelor of Midwifery student at the University of Newcastle, said TAFE NSW had a life-changing impact.

“I just turned 20 and I will graduate university in December,” Erin said.

“I am so much further ahead in life than I ever would’ve imagined and that is due to a course I’d never even heard about before I started it. Not only did the TPC allow me to follow the career path I dreamed of, being interested in women’s health and pregnancy, it changed the way I think about learning and I have made lifelong connections in the form of friendships and my relationship with my teachers. I’ve never had even a second of regret about the pathway I chose.”

“I felt so much more prepared for university studies, as I was already familiar with things such as referencing and how to do academic research. The transition was seamless,” Erin said. She is now interviewing for midwifery graduate positions.

Her sister, Kate, 17, will next year start a Bachelor of Paramedicine at the University of Western Sydney.

“High school got to be too overwhelming for me but studying at TAFE NSW was so different. There was a real sense of freedom, the learning felt relevant and I was closer to my teachers than ever before,” Kate said.

“I placed second in the State for the TPC and the highest scoring student ever to come out of the Glendale campus. I’m very proud of myself.” A self-confessed high-achiever, Kate hopes to go on to pursue a career in intensive care. “It’s the most difficult field, so it’s the one I would like to pursue.”

The sisters will follow in the footsteps of their mother, a nurse. Paramedics and midwifery are in-demand careers, with a projected 9% and 22% increase in job opportunities, respectively, over the next five years.

Media contact: Lee Tobin, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, 0402 087 839.