Blogs (Media Centre)

TAFE NSW sets Nicole on path to success

TAFE NSW sets Nicole on path to success

A Concord West local has said that a vocational alternative to the HSC has been vital to putting her on the path to success at university.

A few months before Nicole Healey was due to commence the HSC trial exams, she realised that she was not going to be able to achieve what she wanted academically whilst maintaining her mental health. To the shock of her friends and teachers, she decided to leave school.

Nicole said her decision was hard to make and felt that she didn’t have an alternative option for realising her dream of higher education.

“Fortunately, I discovered that the TAFE NSW Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation offered an alternate path to achieving my goal of entering university.

“As soon as I learnt about the course and what it could offer me, I knew it was my new plan A,” she said.

In 2018, the rate of students completing high school to Year 12 was 85%, an increase from 75% in 2008 (ABS 2009, 2019)[1]. Nicole wants those that do not go on to complete year 12 and secure an ATAR at school to know that the Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation is an excellent choice if they are looking to transition to higher education.

“Unlike the HSC, the Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation is specifically tailored for university preparation, so it really taught me not just the necessary writing and research conventions, but how to be an independent student and take ownership of my education and goals.”

Data has shown that students’ vocational education teachers play a pivotal role in facilitating their students’ self-belief that they had the capacity to succeed in their studies. This, together with increased academic skills and knowledge, provides students with the confidence and capabilities to continue to university[2].

Nicole not only completed her studies with high marks, she also won the Geoffrey Falkenmire Scholarship Award for achieving the highest marks in 2019 for a unit from the Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation. With her newfound confidence and skill, she’s been accepted into a Bachelor of Communications (Social and Political Science) at university.

“Now that I'm coming to the end of my first semester at university, I can proudly say that TAFE NSW equipped me with some amazing skills that helped me transition to higher education and set me up for the future.”

For more information about pathways to university available at TAFE NSW visit or call 131 601.

Media contact: Alice Dalley, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, 0402 528 210,