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Making their mark: Matured aged TAFE NSW graduates gain meaningful employment

Making their mark: Matured aged TAFE NSW graduates gain meaningful employment

More and more mature aged workers are turning to TAFE NSW to upskill, reskill, and follow their passion, as research shows Australians are living longer and healthier lives and delaying retirement.

According to the Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), the share of workers in Australia aged over 55 has more than doubled from 9% in 1991, to 19% in 2021.

78-year-old yoga teacher Don Mamouney is one of many TAFE NSW graduates proving age is no barrier to learning. Having completed a Certificate III and IV in Fitness at TAFE NSW Loftus, he teaches weekly strength classes at Engadine Leisure Centre and local community centres for not-for-profit organisation SHARE.

“Having had a long-term interest in the benefits of exercise and longevity, I was drawn to do the TAFE NSW course because I kept noticing the plethora of studies linking the effectiveness of strength training as an antidote to many health issues plaguing older people,” Mr Mamouney said.

“Having finished the course, what I call my ‘old-age career’ has really taken off. Along with dedicated yoga classes, I now teach strength classes, combined strength and yoga classes, and online and face-to-face personal training sessions. I also teach classes for Sutherland Shire Council’s Engadine Leisure Centre and accessible yoga and strength classes in various community centres for SHARE.

“I did have some initial trepidation when it came to studying again at my age. Any doubts that I had were quickly put to rest. I was made to feel welcome by both fellow students and teachers. The best part of the course was the face-to-face relationship with the highly skilled teachers whose deep knowledge of their subjects and the fitness industry was genuinely inspiring.

“The knowledge I’ve gained around the principles of exercise, anatomy, and behaviour change and the practical experience of training people throughout the course each week has given me renewed energy and direction in my working life.

“I firmly believe getting older doesn’t need to be a period of inevitable decline – it can be a period of growth, learning, and productiveness. I’d recommend anyone, no matter their age, to take the plunge and study something they’re passionate about.”

Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce, said Sutherland Shire Council offers a broad range of employment opportunities spanning many different services.

“Age is no barrier when it comes to employment. From our leisure centres and libraries to beaches and Bushcare, we employ people with the skills, expertise, and passion to deliver quality services to our residents and help make our community a better place to live, work and play,” Mayor Pesce said.

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Health and Recreation at TAFE NSW Loftus Andrew Stewart said it’s great to see mature-aged students like Don returning the classroom later in life to gain new skills, proving age is just a number.

“Don had a huge impact on the class. He was able to not only build on his existing wealth of knowledge and life experience, but also pass that on to his classmates,” Mr Stewart said.

“It’s great to see how the course has given him new tools to help others become fitter, healthier, and happier and I have no doubt he’ll continue to make a difference in his community.”

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