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As kids across the country return to the classroom, 51 year-old Fiona Papadatos is proving that it’s never too late to learn by going back to school to pursue a career that better suits her family and lifestyle.
The Productivity Commission’s 2017 report; Upskilling and Retraining, Shifting the Dial: 5 year Productivity Review, emphasises the importance of lifelong learning and retraining throughout a person’s career to respond to technological changes and improve the overall quality and stability of the workforce.
As a business analyst and project manager Fiona had extensive professional experience but wanted to continue her development and transition to a career that would fulfil her need to give back to community and offer her more balance in her life.
Fiona said, “My son was about to start high school and I wanted to find a more meaningful role, one where I could contribute to the wider community as opposed to one where I felt like I simply contributed to an organisation’s bottom line. I dropped out of my first university course in the 1980's and have always held a desire to resume tertiary studies.”
Fiona decided she wanted to head back to school and finish what she started over 30 years ago, enrolling in the Bachelor of Business at TAFE NSW. Though she came into the degree with considerable range of existing business skills, the degree gave her additional skills and contemporary training to help consolidate her knowledge.
“The Bachelor of Business at TAFE NSW instilled in me a strong belief in my ability to achieve, or at least have a good attempt at, whatever I put my mind to, whilst building my confidence in presentation and influencing others.
“It also gave me an appreciation of the important role that good teachers and practical, relevant subject matter play in the classroom. I was privileged to experience that first-hand at TAFE NSW and see the impact of these factors to influence the academic outcomes and future success of students, which in turn can have a direct impact on the wider community and ultimately Australia’s prosperity.”
Fiona was able to use credit from her previous work experience to put towards her degree and the flexibility of the course meant that she was able to study at multiple campus locations in Sydney to complete the required units of study.
“I was able to tailor the study at TAFE NSW to suit my lifestyle and was exposed to a rich and diverse cohort in small classes which enriched my learning experience and led to more meaningful and frequent engagement with my teachers.”
Now, Fiona is studying a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment online through TAFE Digital, hoping to further expand her career options and gain the skills to work as a teacher.
“I am not sure I am destined to be a teacher however the option of using both my professional experience and tertiary education to help other students grow and learn greatly appeals to me. Achieving the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment will enable me to consider either vocational education and/or corporate training as career paths.”
“I’m a believer in the benefit of education and recognise that often it’s not the subject that matters so much as the process of learning: engaging with a cohort; building relationships and networks; gaining confidence; using the knowledge acquired in whatever way the opportunity manifests; and achieving a qualification or an outcome that may have a direct correlation with career opportunities or alternatively may represent personal achievement, growth or recognition of capabilities.
“I’m excited to embark on this new chapter of my life and am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to study at TAFE NSW and reignite my passion for learning.”
To find out more about the Bachelor of Business and other degrees on offer at TAFE NSW in 2020 visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.
Media contact: Alice Dalley, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile 0402 528 210
 Productivity Commission 2017, Upskilling and Retraining, Shifting the Dial: 5 year Productivity Review, Supporting Paper No. 8, Canberra