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Confined to a hospital bed and unable to attend regular schooling, Courtney Jones’ dreams of a career were almost dashed before they began.
But through a unique TAFE NSW bridging course that compresses years 11 and 12 into a single year of study and arms graduates with an ATAR equivalent, Ms Jones was able to unlock her potential and is now working as a registered nurse at one of the Riverina’s biggest hospitals.
Diagnosed with chronic and often-paralysing migraines in year 8, Ms Jones spent extended periods in hospital throughout her formative schooling years.
“Just seeing how professional and caring the nurses were made me realise this was what I wanted to do,” she said. “They had this incredible empathy and coupled with the clinical side, it really appealed to me.
“I needed to find a pathway to university that was adaptable and flexible enough to fit in with my health issues.”
Enter TAFE NSW. Ms Jones discovered that she could study the Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC) at TAFE NSW Tumut and took a leap of faith.
“It was the best decision I ever made,” Ms Jones, 23, said. “The teachers were absolutely amazing and they put so much effort and resources into ensuring you reached your full potential.
“There were all walks of life in the class – older students wanting to get back into the workforce or further their careers, students who didn’t thrive in the school environment and people like me who needed more flexibility in their learning. But we really supported each other and we’ve all gotten where we wanted to be in life.”
For Ms Jones, it meant being accepted into a Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and being offered a job at Calvary Hospital after graduating.
TAFE NSW Team Leader of Career Pathways Deb Crowden said TPC students were most often students who weren’t happy with their ATAR and wanted to resit the HSC, or current members of the workforce who wished to change career and gain entrance to university or other organisations, such as the Defence Force.
“It’s a great way for those that haven’t studied in a while to brush up on their research skills, gain confidence and gain entry to higher education,” Ms Crowden said.
She said TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga and Tumut were currently taking enrolments for the TPC.
To find out more about studying TPC at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.