Student stories

They come from all across the state, from rural communities, coastal towns and metropolitan cities. They travel from interstate or overseas, and learn on campus, online and in the workplace. They've studied short courses, certificates, apprenticeships, diplomas, degrees and foundation studies. They've experienced full-time study, juggled work with part-time study or followed flexible courses to suit their lifestyles.

Share their experiences, their real stories of training with TAFE NSW.

Real students, real stories


Savannah De Oliveira studies a Certificate III in Hairdressing (TVET) at Sydney TAFE's Ultimo Campus.


Mikayla Green studies a TAFE NSW Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care degree at Illawarra Institute.


Rowena Abayon studies a Diploma of Nursing at Western Sydney Institute's Penrith Campus.

Chris Ebeling

Star Wars fan and gamer Chris Ebeling studied Digital and Interactive Games at Sydney Institute in 2007. Now a freelance animator, he's worked on movies like The Great Gatsby and Happy Feet, as well as developing his own projects in gaming and TV.

Morgan Clementson

With a successful, international career in bread-making, Morgan studied Baking in 2013 at Illawarra Institute.


Ceara Rice studies an Advanced Diploma of Music in Penrith at Western Sydney Institute.

Lisa McGuigan

Famous winemaker and owner of Lisa McGuigan Wines, Lisa studied Hospitality and Catering in 1987 at Hunter TAFE.

Carol Bagaric

Carol Bagaric, business owner, studied Visual Merchandising at Sydney Institute in 1999. Excited by the creativity and practical hands-on aspects of visual merchandising, Carol set up her own business in 2005.

Andrew Abood

Andrew Abood, who appears on 'Bondi Vet', studied Veterinary Nursing at South Western Sydney Institute in 2013. Also a professional swimmer, TAFE NSW's flexibility around his busy schedule led to his success in nursing sick animals – and running puppy schools.


Tahnee Jamieson studies a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care at the Riverina Institute's Griffith Campus.

Nick Cowley

Nick studied Coastal Maritime Operations in 2013 at Illawarra Institute.


Dylan Narsamma studies a Certificate II in Skills for Work at Sydney TAFE.


Rachel Montgomery studies a Diploma of Event Management at Illawarra Institute.

Amy Stiles

For Amy Stiles, TAFE NSW is the foundation for a legal career she is passionate about.


Kathryn Watkins studies a TAFE NSW Bachelor of Design (Interior Design) degree at Design Centre Enmore, Sydney TAFE.


Rachel Fulcher studies a Diploma of Graphic Design at Design Centre Enmore, Sydney TAFE.

Tom Walton

Tom Walton is head chef of The Bucketlist in Bondi. He began his career by studying Commercial Cookery graduate at TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute.


Natia Beroshvili studies Certificate III in English for Further Study at Sydney TAFE.

Thomas Rann

Thomas Rann began his career with the Certificate III in Automotive Mechanical Technology from North Coast TAFE in 2012.


Anthony studied a Certificate III in Carpentry and Joinery and a Certificate IV in Building and Construction at New England Institute's Wagga Wagga Campus.

Jackson Bramley

Jackson Bramley studied Horticulture (Landscaping) at New England Institute in 2011. He now runs his own landscaping business and takes on apprentices.


Andrew Bontoft studies a Diploma Screen & Media, Film & TV at the Northern Sydney Institute


Elle studied sports and recreation at the Northern Sydney Institute's Northern Beaches Campus.


Joshua Lodge studies a Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques at Hunter TAFE's Newcastle Campus.


Leo Stanoevski studies a Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology at Illawarra Institute.

Victoria Waring

Award-winning tradie, Victoria Waring studied Painting and Decorating in 2008 at South Western Sydney Institute. She now runs her own company, offering opportunities to female apprentices in a male-dominated trade.


Kurstie Richardson studies a Diploma of Training Design and Development at the South Western Sydney Institute Campbelltown campus.

Ito Rivera

Originally from the Philippines, Ito Rivera, came to Australia to study Early Childhood Education and Care in 2014 at Illawarra Institute, which opened the doors to employment. He's now working with a company he did work placement with.


Nyssa studied web development at Illawarra Institute's West Wollongong Campus.


Dave Lambert studies a Diploma of Fitness at Illawarra Institute.

Nyssa Murray

Nyssa Murray is a Project Manager at the University of Wollongong. She started her career studying Web Development, Web Technologies and Training & Assessment at TAFE Illawarra.

Susan Jarrett

Susan Jarrett studied Architectural Technology at Sydney TAFE. She now runs a successful building design company, Structure Building.


Jake is studying a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at North Coast Institute.


Sheena Maher studies a Certificate III in Floristry at Western Sydney Institute's Penrith Campus.

Kyle Loades

Kyle Loades studied Marketing in 1988 at Hunter TAFE.


Luke studied a Certificate III in Plumbing at North Coast Institute.


Shannon studies a Certificate II in Applied Fashion Design and Technology at North Coast TAFE.


Olivia Groome studied a TAFE NSW Bachelor of Design (Interior Design) degree at Design Centre Enmore, Sydney TAFE.

Frank Newwah-Jefroi

Frank Newah-Jarfoi, community development officer, studied community Welfare Work in 2010 at Riverina Institute. His passion for community services started when he was a refugee in Guinea.


Kristin Moore studies a Diploma of Salon Management at the South Western Sydney Institute's Granville Campus

Jim Sell

Owner of Quality Country Homes, Jim studied Building and Carpentry in the 1980s at Illawarra Institute.


James studied a Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing at Western Institute's Orange Campus.

Bassam Barake

Bassam launched his career in Real Estate by graduating in a Certificate IV in Property Services at TAFE NSW Sydney Institute.

Mark Single

Mark studied Building Supervision at TAFE New England


Sarah McDonald studies a Certificate III in Floristry at Western Sydney Institute's Penrith Campus.


Mark Hardy studies a Certificate III in Electrotechnology at North Coast Institute's Port Macquarie Campus.


Graeme Gallie studies a Certificate IV in Business Administration at Western Sydney Institute's Penrith Campus.

Dean Gibson

Possibly the only person in the world to compete in both the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie and the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, Dean began his career by graduating in Commercial Cookery in 1997 at Hunter TAFE.


Immanuel Njoroge studies a Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Pathology Testing) at South Western Sydney Institute's Granville Campus.


Briony studied an Advanced Diploma of Fashion Design at Sydney TAFE's Fashion Design Studio.


Rabi studied network security at the Northern Sydney Institute.

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Ben Houghton studied his electrical trade apprenticeship with Western Institute.

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Meredith Armstrong

Meredith Armstrong decided to swap a hospitality career for a nursing career. A scholarship helped her reach her study and career goals.

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Jamie studied a Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology at North Coast Institute.

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Troy from TAFE Illawarra won the 2015 Excellence in Trade Skills at the NSW Training Awards.

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Geoff was winner of the Excellence in Electrotechnology Award at the 2015 NSW Training Awards.

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Trent from Hunter TAFE was awarded the 2015 Top Apprentice in the Vehicles Trade at the NSW Training Awards.

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Brenden won the School Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year at the 2015 AustralianTraining Awards.

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Sebastian dabbled in many industries before he enrolled in the Advanced Diploma of Live Production, Theatre and Events at the Design Centre, Enmore.

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Shaquille Robinson won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year Award at the 2015 NSW Training Awards.

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Nicole from Riverina TAFE won the Special Award for a Woman in a Non-Traditional Trade Vocation at the 2015 NSW Training Awards.

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At the 2015 NSW Training Awards, Eh Ler from TAFE NSW - South Western Sydney Institute won the Phil Darby Memorial Award.

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Brad studied a Certificate III Automotive Mechanical Technology at Riverina Institute.

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Brodie is an apprentice mechanical fitter who is studying engineering at TAFE SWSi while completing his apprenticeship in Cert III Mechanical Trade Engineering.

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Luke studied drafting and construction as part of his apprenticeship with Aurecon at Sydney TAFE.

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I spent most of my time sitting at a desk under fluoro lights. The closest I came to landscaping were the occasional indoor box plants

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Kirsty Butler

Kirsty Butler graduated from Miller College (SWSi TAFE) with a Diploma of Library Information Services.

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Jesse Skinner

Originally working in the construction industry, Jesse's career came to a grinding halt when his spine broke.

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Viengkeo studied a Diploma of Interpreting at South Western Sydney Institute.

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