A proud Darkinjung woman and Woy Woy local has recently been awarded a TAFE NSW Excellence Award and TAFE NSW Gili Award for her commitment to her community services studies, despite many challenges along the way.
53-year-old Jennifer Skinner studied a Bachelor of Community Services online after taking time out of the workforce to raise her children. She was named Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the TAFE NSW Excellence Awards ceremony, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the recent TAFE NSW Gili Awards.
Ms Skinner plans to pass on her skills and knowledge as a TAFE NSW teacher, having recently been accepted into the TAFE NSW Teacher Scholarship Program to study a fee-free Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
“I’ve always had an interest in community services. I’m a bit of a people person and like to make a difference in people’s lives – I’m the person people come to when they need help. I realised it’s something I’m good at, but I needed a qualification to back that up, so I decided to enrol in the Community Services course,” Ms Skinner said.
“I’m still in shock that I’ve won these awards – it’s a huge achievement. It’s been a remarkable journey with a lot of hurdles along the way, but I strongly believe I’m doing what I’m meant to do, and I’ve shown myself and my kids that anything’s possible.
“I haven’t let being in an abusive relationship or mental health issues get in my way – I’ve gone from thinking all hope was lost to re-educating and empowering myself. I’m a big believer that no matter what you go through in life, you can achieve anything.
“I’m incredibly grateful for all the help I’ve had – I honestly don’t think I would have finished the course without the support of my incredible teachers.
“I’m looking forward to providing that same care and support to future TAFE NSW students, thanks to the TAFE NSW Teacher Scholarship Program.”
TAFE NSW Community Services Teacher Beth Evans said students like Jennifer highlight the life-changing impact of quality education and training.
“Jennifer demonstrated persistence with her studies and resiliency in finding a balance with study and the many challenges life can throw at a student.”
Media contact: Emma Woodward, Communications Specialist, email@example.com, 0409 618 291