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Local TAFE NSW graduate turns love of bushwalking into award-winning career

TAFE NSW Wentworth Falls

Local TAFE NSW graduate turns love of bushwalking into award-winning career

A Katoomba local has credited TAFE NSW’s Mature Age Workers’ Scholarship program with helping her land her dream job as an outdoor guide at the age of 50.

Mum-of-three Rachael Corlett was working in sales when bushfires and COVID-19 hit. After losing her job, she was inspired to switch careers and follow her passion for the outdoors.

After completing a fee-free Certificate III and IV in Outdoor Leadership at TAFE NSW Wentworth Falls, she works as a guide for the Blue Mountains Adventure Company and Women Want Adventure. Her other pursuits include leading a Hike 4 Homelessness fundraising hike through the Warrumbungles, and working with the local high school for their regular outdoor education programs.

Mrs Corlett was recently awarded ‘Dry Guide of the Year,’ as part of the Blue Mountains local guiding awards.

“When redundancies happened due to the bushfires, and the COVID lockdowns hit, I decided now was the time to switch careers and follow my passion. I’ve always loved bushwalking, so I signed up for the outdoor leadership course and fell in love with it,” Mrs Corlett said.

“The course was filled with adventurous, challenging stuff. We learnt so much including navigation, first aid, roping, and managing groups. We even did a search and rescue trip at night, where a teacher hid in a cave while it was raining, and we had to find them.

“Gaining hands-on skills in real environments and being surrounded by supportive teachers and female role models throughout the course has been invaluable to my success.

“It was difficult at times juggling family, work, and study, but everyone has been so supportive, and receiving the mature age worker scholarship was incredibly helpful.

“My husband could see how much I enjoyed it, and the proof is in the pudding – I’m now getting paid to travel, be active, and be in the bush, which has been a dream.

“Being awarded ‘Dry Guide of the Year’ was very unexpected. I’m still fairly new to this, but it’s so rewarding being able to help people reach their potential and convert them to hiking.

“There’s nothing better than seeing someone who is doing it tough actually get to the end and have that sense of satisfaction.”

Media contact: Emma Hughes, Communications Specialist, 0409 618 291,