INSPIRING: TAFE NSW Deniliquin community services graduate Megan Kortum.
A Berrigan woman who has endured a torrid, decade-long battle with mental illness has credited TAFE NSW Deniliquin with helping give her the confidence and skills to secure a job.
Megan Kortum, 24, has lived with severe depression and anxiety since her early teens and in a bid to find a career helping other people struggling, enrolled in a Certificate III in Community Services at TAFE NSW Denilqiuin in 2020.
She thrived in the supportive, hands-on environment, and was recently named as a finalist in the Riverina Training Awards for Vocational Student of the Year.
During her studies, Ms Kortum also secured her first paid job, as a kitchen assistant at Amaroo Aged Care in Berrigan.
She has now progressed to a Certificate IV in Community Studies through TAFE NSW Deniliquin and is about to embark on her first round of work placement.
“I have a passion for mental health work and when you live with mental health issues, that need to want to help others living with them is even stronger,” Ms Kortum said.
“I really wanted to delve into community services and get some hands-on experience, and TAFE NSW has allowed me to do that.”
Ms Kortum said she planned to soon pursue full-time work in the field and described her being named as a finalist in the NSW Training Awards – Regional as a “true honour”.
“It feels great to be acknowledged for working hard,” she said.
TAFE NSW Deniliquin Community Services Teacher Caroline Vella said it had been rewarding to witness how TAFE NSW had helped turbocharge Ms Kortum’s personal and professional growth.
“One thing I saw very clearly when Megan first enrolled is that she was really lacking in confidence,” Ms Vella said.
“But as she grew, it enabled her to make connections with other students, ask for extra resources where needed and master many of the skills needed in community services.
“She embraced online learning during COVID and she should be very proud of what she’s achieved.”
According to a report by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, community services jobs will continue to grow in coming years, in line with increased demand for services.
Ms Vella said TAFE NSW Deniliquin had strong ties with the local community services industry.
“The industry really chases our graduates and I’m regularly contacted by employers looking for graduates,” she said.
The Riverina Training Awards presentation night be held on Thursday, 10 June.
If you’d like to study community services at TAFE NSW, call 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, (02) 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428