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TAFE NSW Griffith helps career gamble pay off for former casino dealer

TAFE NSW Griffith

TAFE NSW Griffith helps career gamble pay off for former casino dealer

HOPE FLOATS: Griffith resident Francina Wilikai, with daughter Denisha, has credited TAFE NSW Griffith with giving her the skills to help her change her life.

29 January, 2024


TAFE NSW Griffith has empowered a former Solomon Islands casino dealer to change the course of her family’s life and also help address the region’s crippling aged care skills shortage.

Mum-of-two Francina Wilikai, 31, was a casino dealer in her native Solomon Islands before her quest for a better life saw her move to Griffith in 2019 to work as a fruit picker.

Eager to move into a caring profession, Ms Wilikai enrolled in the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) earlier this year at TAFE NSW Griffith, arming her with the practical skills and experience to secure a job as a support worker at Pioneer’s Lodge before even graduating.

It comes as a recent report by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) warned that the skills shortage in aged care in Australia could reach 110,000 or more in the next decade and 400,000 by 2050.

“We don’t have aged care facilities in the Solomon Islands, it’s the children’s job to look after their parents into old age,” Ms Wilikai said.

“I love helping people, I love making them laugh; it’s my passion.

“It makes me feel like part of the community and that I’m giving support.”

She said the TAFE NSW Griffith course armed her with the tools and knowledge to make an immediate impact in her new workplace.

“The course taught me so much about how to give older people more independence and dealing with difficult things like dementia,” Ms Wilikai said,

She said the job had enabled her to support her family back home and she now plans to enrol in a Diploma of Nursing at TAFE NSW Griffith next year to become an enrolled nurse and continue her caring journey.

TAFE NSW aged care teacher Debbie Healey said the industry offered the rare combination of job security and satisfaction, with graduates leaving with the practical skills and work experience to hit the ground running.

“The aged care industry is awash with jobs at the moment and if you love helping people, it can be the perfect profession,” Ms Healey said.

“You really are making a difference in a person’s life and helping older people retain dignity as they age.

“And so many of our TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga graduates walk straight into jobs, often before even graduating.”


Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0477 722 428