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NSW TAFE helping women in midlife switch careers


NSW TAFE helping women in midlife switch careers

Daniella Goodridge switched careers from business owner to nurse with the help of TAFE NSW

A TAFE NSW Randwick graduate proves it’s never too late to follow your passion after switching careers from a small business owner to a nursing graduate at 46 years of age. Coogee resident Daniella Goodridge was able to fast-track her career change by enrolling in TAFE NSW’s fee-free Diploma of Nursing in 2022.


Daniella’s story reflects a broader trend with job mobility hitting 9.5% in 2023 for the second year in a row, the highest rate in a decade according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Even industries typically considered stable faced significant shifts after a period of workplace shutdown due to Covid, leading more people to reconsider their future career path.

Goodridge owned and operated the thriving Goodridge Swim School and sold the business just before Covid hit in December 2019. With 19 employees, including her husband and daughter, they taught nearly 1,000 children weekly. The sale of her business and the following lockdown gave her time to contemplate her career and make the switch.


“I had been fascinated with nursing since I was 12-years-old when my father accidentally injured himself and I calmly removed shards of glass from his arm,” Goodridge said. “When my daughter started studying paramedics at university I would think, ‘I wish I could start my life over again’. When the swim school closed, I thought, ‘why can’t I’?


“Following a Certificate III in Pathology Collection in 2021, I enrolled the fee-free Diploma of Nursing at TAFE NSW in Randwick as I was impressed with the flexibility offered and the practical, hands-on approach. I went on to love every minute of it. It is harder to study as an adult and it can be daunting but the teachers at TAFE were so encouraging and supportive. The flexibility offered also helped me to balance studies with family life.


“After graduating from TAFE last year I’ve been able to fast-track into the second year of a Bachelor of Nursing at Notre Dame University. It’s been the best pathway for me to gain confidence in the workplace with 400 hours of nursing work placement already under my belt.


“I now wake up every day and feel excited about the future. I didn’t want to waste my days wondering what to do when my business closed. I’m not just a mother and a wife. I wanted to show my kids that you can keep reinventing yourself. Life is too short for regrets.”


Head Teacher of Nursing at TAFE NSW Randwick Sandra Peters said she’s been pleased to see an increase in mature-age women switching careers to study nursing particularly as the demand for nurses increases, with a projected shortfall of 123,000 nurses in Australia by 2030.


“Many women tell me that nursing is something they’ve always wanted to do but then life got in the way,” Peters said. “Once their kids become older and more self-sufficient, it becomes their time to pursue their career goals. TAFE NSW offers the perfect environment as we provide flexible study options and a range of support services.


“Most women will underestimate the valuable skills they bring not only to the classroom but to a new profession. Mature-age students, in particular, often excel in nursing due to their extensive life experiences.

They bring an array of essential skills that are transferable to nursing – communication, time management, working in a team, collaborating, and conflict resolution. Often, they’ll have an increased capacity to remain calm under pressure and provide the younger students which fosters a positive experience for all.”