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Carer to career in big growth sector

TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour

Tracie Martin has been a full time carer for two of her four children, for the last 28 years. Now she’s transforming her skills into a paid career as an enrolled nurse.

With the health, wellbeing and community services sector expected to grow by 4.4% to 2021[i] and with the help of TAFE NSW, Tracie is on track in her aspiration to turn her personal role within her family into a career to help other families.

Tracie’s eldest son has multiple epilepsy, brain damage, autism and behavioural issues. Her youngest son is blind and autistic. Putting her personal experience and practical knowledge to use outside of her family life, Tracie enrolled at TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour in a Diploma of Nursing.

Having much personal experience with disability, Tracie has a refreshing approach to nursing which has garnered praise from new employers at a local aged care facility in Coffs Harbour.

“Instead of trying to fix people with disabilities, I make people’s environments work as best they can for that person. Not everybody needs to be fixed, it’s important to look at an individual’s situation and improve things from that angle,” said Tracie.

Tracie aims to bring the disability community together through support networks and sharing experiences.

“It’s eye opening the lack of support that carers get and I hope to ease that burden for other people. There used to be much more of a community of disabled carers and we are losing that, I would love to work towards bringing that back.”

After 18 months of studying the Diploma, Tracie will graduate in May as a qualified Enrolled Nurse. With the help of TAFE NSW, Tracie has enjoyed work experience in medical, pediatrics and theatre nursing.

With an ageing population across the North Coast, health, wellbeing and community services is one of the top three employment areas expected to expand the most over a three year period with 6,231 jobs forecasted to be added.

For more detail on TAFE NSW courses, face-to-face or online, visit or call 131 601.

Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Media Officer,

[i] Research conducted by TAFE NSW September 2018