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TAFE NSW student overcomes adversity to ace her HSC


TAFE NSW student overcomes adversity to ace her HSC

TAFE NSW student Jacqueline receiving the 2019 Australian Federation of Graduate Women award

As students around the country eagerly await the release of their HSC results, TAFE NSW student Jacqueline Pollock has proven there is more than one pathway to university when school isn’t the right fit.

TAFE NSW offers a unique alternative to studying the HSC for students like Jacqueline who struggled with school, and never really felt as though she fit in. The Oatley local studied the Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation at TAFE NSW Gymea and is now studying at university after overcoming incredible adversity.

“I just found it so hard to concentrate; school just wasn’t the right fit for me so I left after year 11 to work at a dental surgery and travel.

“I just couldn’t see myself completing my HSC, I felt like studying just wasn’t for me so I wanted to get out and see the world instead,” Jacqueline said.

While Jacqueline was overseas travelling in Canada, her father became sick so she returned home. In a heartbreaking turn of events, Jacqueline lost her father and subsequently became a full-time carer to her mother.

“My mother has been disabled due to brain cancer since I was eight years old and my father cared for her full time. When my father unexpectedly passed away, I took on that role and my career was put on hold while I looked after my mother.”

Soon Jacqueline realised that she wanted to do something for herself, to get back into study so that she could improve her career options.

“I went to an Open Day at TAFE NSW Gymea and met a teacher who encouraged me to pursue the Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation (TPC) and finish my HSC. I never thought I would complete my HSC but Jane and my other teachers were so supportive they made me believe I really could.

“Through doing the course I discovered that I am quite smart, and it built my confidence to the point where I realised that I could go to uni, I can do anything I want because I am more than capable.

“I felt that finally, I was being treated like an adult and able to learn in my own way. Once I started I couldn’t stop and now I’m at university on the way to my dream career,” Jacqueline said.

Jacqueline is now studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine at university. She hopes to continue in a career in health so that she can help others. Jacqueline’s TAFE NSW teacher, Jane Maughencheney said Jacqueline’s transformation through the TPC course was hard to believe.

“When I met Jacqueline she was so incredibly hesitant; she was unsure about whether she could succeed and finish the course at all. She had so many doubts and concerns about how she would be able to do the work.

“Now she’s thriving, she aced her TPC and is doing well at university, I’ve no doubt Jacqueline will achieve anything she sets her mind to,” Jane said.

To learn more about Tertiary Preparation Study and employability pathways available at TAFE NSW in 2020 head to or phone 131 601.

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