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Carers from across NSW are turning personal experience into formal qualifications thanks to an innovative TAFE NSW skills recognition program.

Carer to Career allows people who care for a family member, friend or neighbour with a disability, mental health, ageing or complex health and wellbeing needs to have their personal experience recognised as progress towards formal qualifications.

Across NSW there are more than 850,000 carers in a wide variety of circumstances. TAFE NSW has customised a unique program that recognises their skills with qualifications and facilitates pathways to paid employment and further training.

TAFE NSW Upskilling Carers Program Coordinator Michelle Meachem said Carer to Career was initiated in late 2019 as a flexible learning program for carers to access when, where and how it suits them and to meet their individual learning needs.

“There has been an excellent response to the program with over 360 carers registered since it was launched in 2019,” Ms Meachem said.

“By developing specific abilities Carer to Career equips carers with job-ready skills which can be applied to a range of roles in the community services sector as well as other industries depending on the qualifications attained.

”A number of carers have gained a Certificate III in Individual Support using a customised recognition of prior learning process and others have received specific skills sets in support coordination to support employment.”

TAFE NSW graduate Deborah Woodley has been a carer for her 19-year-old daughter who lives with severe epilepsy and a moderate intellectual disability since she was born. Ms Woodley is now using the skills she has developed in her personal life to kick start a career as a care professional.

“I have the lived experience as a carer and volunteering within the disability community which has given me the skills I need to work in the industry. The TAFE NSW Carer to Career program allowed me to legitimise my skills and give me the qualifications I need to be able to pursue a career in what I am good at.”

“There is a need for people in the industry with genuine care and knowledge and I would like to be able to put my skills in a place that it is valued.

I’ve become passionate about the industry because I see so many gaps in services and I want to make a difference toward that.”

With the health, wellbeing and community services sector expected to grow by 4.4% to 2021[1] and with the help of TAFE NSW, Ms Woodley is on track in her aspiration to turn her role within her family into a career to help other families.  

Carer to Career is funded by NSW Communities and Justice, Carer Investment program. 

TAFE NSW is accepting new participants interested in studying during Semester 2. Participants are guided through a self-assessment and skills matching process to determine the best pathway for each individual. Visit or phone 131 601 for more information 


Media contact: Sarah Lievore, Media and Communications Business Partner,