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South Nowra’s Kristy Hoger should be the poster-girl for how to pick yourself up after you’ve been knocked down. The Shoalhaven Women’s Wellness Festival and TAFE NSW played a major role in her finding the career of her dreams.
Straight out of high school her career started with a promising enlistment as a medic in the Royal Australian Navy. Tragically, an accident that left her with a life-long chronic injury meant she was unable to continue.
“That was earth-shattering for me, being so young and not having anything else to fall back on,” she said.
“I didn’t have any direction, didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. In the following years I got married and had children, but I wanted to return to work, I wanted to have my own story, I wanted to prove you could be a mother, have a successful career and manager a chronic injury.
Last year she enrolled in Certificate IV Community Services at TAFE NSW Nowra. It was a one-year course she hoped would give her the nationally accredited skills to be in demand, in what she knew was a growing industry.
Ms Hoger is now involved with a local community services program connecting women with support services, after they have suffered domestic violence.
Her involvement with the Shoalhaven Women’s Wellness Festival came about via work-placement through TAFE NSW Nowra.
Each year Community Service students take part in and help organise the event. It is one of the many ways TAFE NSW teachers connect their students with the industry as part of their hands-on training.
“The Certificate IV in Community Services course is very practical,” Ms Hoger said. Part of my work placement with the Festival involved WHS evaluations, logistics, promotion and helping to run the event,” Ms Hoger said.
“The festival really resonated with me and I love what it stands for - celebrating being a woman. I met my mentor from the YWCA at the festival. It was a perfect outcome from the networking we were encouraged to do,” she said.
“I’m now on a career path that offers me a chance to help other women. If I hadn’t completed the Community Services course and if I hadn’t had those skills, they wouldn’t have looked at me for this role.
The community services sector employs more than 600,000 people nationally, according to IBISWorld industry research. As regions like the Shoalhaven grow in population the pressure is on for care service providers to employ qualified people to meet the growing demand.
Shoalhaven Women’s Wellness Festival runs from noon to 7pm on Thursday 21 March at Nowra Showground. For more information visit www.facebook.com/ShoalhavenWomensWellnessFestival.
For information about nationally recognised qualifications for the growing community services sector, visit TAFE NSW Nowra, phone 131 601 or go to www.tafensw.edu.au.
Media contact: Adam Wright, TAFE NSW Media Officer, (02) 4421 9895, mobile 0466 375 552.