MIND MATTERS: Hamilton-based youth worker Elaine Abraham credits TAFE Digital with helping her make a difference in her community.
23 October 2023
A Newcastle mum has vowed to use the skills learned at TAFE NSW to return to her home community and help address the “tsunami” of mental health and substance abuse issues among her mob.
Elaine Abraham, 37, a proud Bigambul/Gomeroi woman, has recently completed a Diploma of Mental Health at TAFE Digital and is employed as a youth worker at Oasis Youth Services in Hamilton.
Armed with the practical skills and experience from TAFE NSW, Ms Abraham plans to return to her home community and work in the mental health and substance abuse areas.
“There’s a lot of addiction issues happening back home and they seem to be starting at a younger and younger age,” she said.
“I want to use what I’ve learned at TAFE NSW to go back home and implement programs.”
The Diploma of Mental Health is the second TAFE NSW qualification Ms Abrahams has completed with the support of a scholarship from the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health.
“I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the scholarship or the amazing support from my TAFE NSW teachers,” Ms Abraham said.
“The course has really given me the hands-on skills to do my job, especially around how to best talk to people with mental health issues.
“And while it’s sad dealing with young kids with addiction issues, it is such a rewarding job when you can help them.”
TAFE Digital community services and mental health teacher Yasin Bagci said demand - and pay packets - for community services workers were surging post-COVID.
According to Linkedin’s Jobs on the Rise report, community services is now Australia’s second largest industry by employment, with more than 1.5 million workers.
The report found a number of community services roles, such as youth workers, childcare workers and case managers, were currently the most in-demand roles nationwide. This has led to an average 6.7 per cent salary increase for the industry in the past year, the second highest rise of any industry.
“Community services means supporting people to make positive changes in their lives, supporting the wellbeing of individuals, families or communities, and being an agent of social change within a growing industry,” Mr Bagci said.
“Demand is constantly growing, especially in areas such as mental health.
“TAFE NSW gives graduates the practical skills and work experience they need for the job they want.”
A range of community services courses are currently being offered fee-free through TAFE Digital, he said, including a Certificate III in Community Services, Certificate IV in Community Services and Certificate IV in Mental Health.
The courses are run via virtual classroom, allowing students to study when and where it best suits them.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, (02) 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428