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Partnership gives TAFE NSW students head start in health sector

TAFE NSW Newcastle and TAFE NSW Kurri Kurri

Partnership gives TAFE NSW students head start in health sector

36 local year 11 school students recently commenced a TAFE NSW and Hunter New England Health District (HNELHD) ‘School-Based Traineeship’ program that gives them a head start in the health sector, as earn-while-you-learn nursing support workers.

In doing so they are undertaking learning with a view to a career in nursing, where skills shortages are being driven by a growing and ageing population.

TAFE NSW research has forecast ‘Nursing Support Worker’ to be the number one occupation for employment growth in the NSW health and fitness industry between 2018 and 2021. It also found that in 2018 more than 2,000 additional nurses were reportedly required to meet the demands of the health sector.

The school-based traineeships see students take on a two-year learning program that is in its 12th year of delivery. They hail from as far south as lower Lake Macquarie and as far north as the tip of the Upper Hunter.

While continuing their high school studies, the students study a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance (Assisting in nursing work in acute care) at either TAFE NSW Newcastle or Kurri Kurri Hospital – depending on their hometown - and are employed to work one day per week at a Hunter-based hospital.

The vast majority go on to do a Diploma of Nursing or a Bachelor of Nursing while others find work as a health services assistant.

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager Susie George said the students will receive a nationally recognised qualification on successful completion of their traineeship, in addition to their Higher School Certificate, while being supported to access further career opportunities within the District.

“We are proud of the opportunities this program provides young local people to gain practical, hands-on experience in health, via a well-paced and supportive introduction to working in the sector,” Ms George said.

“This exciting partnership between TAFE NSW and the Hunter New England Local Health District promotes vocational education and training opportunities to local industry, schools and the community as a fantastic pathway into a great career.

“Such collaborations drive local apprenticeships and traineeships and build industry engagement in local schools. This improves the sentiment around local youth employment opportunities while having a positive effect on the local economy, and helps address ongoing skills shortages in the health sector.

“As the largest education and training provider in Australia, TAFE NSW equips students with job-ready skills and practical experience to pursue employment. Importantly, our students, apprentices and trainees can earn while they learn as they train for the jobs of the future.”

HNEHD Nurse Manager, EN and VET Program, Martin Losurdo, said, “Hunter New England Local Health District has found this to be a hugely beneficial program as an employer and for young people wanting a head start into a nursing and midwifery career.”

“It provides excellent on-the-job and theoretical training, along with ample mentoring, which sets them up for a successful career in the health industry.

“The Hunter region school-based traineeship program provides opportunity for our young people to discover the joys of caring for others.”

Australia’s largest training provider, TAFE NSW offers over 1,200 courses, from certificates to degrees. Many can be studied online via TAFE Digital, when and where it suits. Visit or call 131 601.