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Irina Lysova at the 2021 Excellence Awards

Tweed Heads local Irina Lysova is reveling in her newfound confidence after supercharging her English language skills with TAFE Digital.

Irina, who was recently awarded the TAFE Digital Career Pathways, Aboriginal Languages and Employability Skills Student of the Year at the TAFE NSW Excellence Awards, arrived in Australia from Russia after emigrating for family reasons but had never learnt English. 

Irina chose to enrol in the Certificate III in Advanced English for Further Study through TAFE Digital so that she would have the flexibility to work whilst completing her studies when she wanted.

“I chose the Certificate III in Advanced English for Further Study because I needed to keep upgrading my English language skills to be able to follow my career in Dermatology in Australia, and to be able to get my qualifications recognised,” she said.

The Certificate III in Advanced English for Further Study is for speakers of other languages and prepares the student with adequate English to study a Certificate III or Certificate IV course at TAFE. It is a stepping stone to Certificate IV English for Academic Purposes, which enables a student to meet the English language criteria to study at university.

“It has greatly improved my English proficiency. I have gained skills in communication, in critical thinking and argument, in analytical discussion and in expressing my opinion using evidence and facts - all essential skills for a career in Medicine in Australia,” Irina said.

“My written skills in English have improved to enable me to write reports, discussion papers and analytical research. I have also gained confidence in doing research in English which I need in my career.”

TAFE Digital teacher Jennifer van Proctor said that Irina was incredibly driven to restart her professional career in a new language and new country without complaint or setback. 

“Irina gained skills in participating in discussions, giving professional presentations, listening to scientific reports and discussions, and more. Her new English skills are the foundation for furthering her career in Medicine, and for flourishing in the Australian medical profession,” Ms van Proctor said.

“Irina has also used her newfound skills to assist her work colleagues to understand the COVID-19 situation and to use safety precautions such as wearing masks and gloves. I have been so impressed by her generosity and her quick thinking to use her knowledge of medicine to impart practical assistance in the workplace.”

Irina said the flexibility of TAFE Digital allowed her to study whenever and wherever she wanted, which meant she was able to continue to work in hospitality to support herself. 

“Studying with TAFE Digital made it possible for me to work and study at the same time. Gaining English skills throughout that time has made my work life much more rewarding,” Irina said.

“The course has given me the skills to eventually return to my Medical profession. I have developed confidence in my ability to discuss and interact with people in Australia and this has greatly increased my self-esteem and optimism for the future.”

To find out more about the range of English language courses at TAFE NSW, including the Certificate III in Advanced English for Further Study call 131 601 or visit   

Media contact: Alice Dalley, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, mobile 0402 528 210.