Making dream career a reality with scholarship
FOR anyone needing a helping hand taking the next step in their professional life, TAFE Queensland scholarship applications are now open.
Hervey Bay mother-of-two Lauren Perry, was awarded a scholarship in 2019 and has been able to purchase the resources she needed to overcome challenges in her personal life and complete her Diploma of Nursing.
Dozens of scholarships are available across the state to support study in a wide range of qualifications, with each recipient receiving up to $5,000 to help cover the costs of course fees, text books and living expenses.
The TAFE Queensland Scholarship Program first launched in 2015 and has since awarded over $1.4 million, helping more than 300 Queenslanders pursue their careers goals.
Ms Perry has always wanted to follow in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother before her by becoming a nurse, and started out 10 years ago by gaining her Certificate III in Individual Support so she could work in aged care.
“My mum is a registered nurse and a huge inspiration; I have always looked up to her and respected the work she did,” Ms Perry said.
“As a child I knew she was going to work at the hospital to help sick people feel better and it made me happy that someone I loved was able to do that – I always thought it was really special.
“When it came to starting my career, I wanted to enter the industry quickly and I thought that the certificate III was a great bridge into nursing.”
Following the three-month premature arrival of her twins and her son’s diagnosis with several complex medical conditions, Ms Perry put her career plans on hold, instead maintaining a stable position in aged care as an Assistant in Nursing while taking care of her family.
But the experience – while incredibly challenging – only strengthened Ms Perry’s resolve to achieve her goal.
“My son has spent all of his life in and out of hospital and I learnt very quickly about the huge impact nurses make with what they can do to change outcomes for patients and their families,” Ms Perry said.
“During the hardest times of our lives, the nurses really saw us through with their support, kindness, professionalism, and care.
“I saw nursing in a really different light and admired the work they did so much more.
“After everything he and our family we went through, I just knew it was for me and that it was what I needed to do. His health was very uncertain but I was confident that with TAFE Queensland, I would be able to balance being a mum and studying.”
Ms Perry started her studies at TAFE Queensland’s Hervey Bay campus at the beginning of 2019, but was faced with the prospect of having to drop out after her son was moved to Brisbane for his biggest operation yet.
It was during this time that she applied for a TAFE Queensland scholarship, in the hope that she’d be able to buy resources that would enable her to continue her studies.
“We had to move to Ronald McDonald House in Brisbane for six months while my son was in the children’s hospital,” Ms Perry said.
“I knew this was going to be a huge challenge for our family and a barrier for me to continue my studies as I was so far from home, unable to attend class or work.
“I heard about the scholarships from another classmate, who encouraged me to apply, but I never thought my application would be successful.
“It helped me enormously – I was able to purchase a laptop that was fast, internet to use in the hospital and nursing books, and it also helped with travel costs so I could return to complete my weekly labs.”
After her son was put on life support, Ms Perry made the decision to defer her studies to focus on his recovery.
But she has since returned to her studies and is now on track to complete her qualification this semester.
“TAFE Queensland has been a wonderful experience for me and is helping me to reach my goals,” she said.
“I really want to do this to make my children proud and show them that even
when life is difficult and it seems like there are endless reasons to give up, it’s so important not to.
“My daughter Chloe is very excited and I can tell she is proud – she says she wants to be a nurse when she grows up. And Mason thinks it’s wonderful as he knows the positive impact nurses have had for him, so he is excited his mum can do that for other people.”
TAFE Queensland General Manager (East Coast) Ana Rodger, said the scholarships provide an opportunity for Queenslanders to develop their skills and gain a qualification to secure jobs in some of the state’s largest and fastest growing industries.
“We know the power vocational education has to change people’s lives and help them achieve extraordinary things,” Mrs Rodger said.
“Two types of scholarships are available.
“The first are merit scholarships aimed at supporting people who have demonstrated strong levels of achievement to advance their careers. The second are access and equity scholarships designed to help students who are battling social or financial hardship.”
Scholarship recipients can choose to study a TAFE Queensland qualification from a certificate III through to Advanced Diploma level across various industries such as business, creative, health, hospitality, information technology, trades and many more. Mrs Rodger said with an average of 600 applications received each year, she encourages anyone looking to start their career or make a career change to apply now.
Applications for a TAFE Queensland scholarship to start study in semester one, 2021 opened on July 13 and will close on August 27, 2020.
For more information visit scholarships.tafeqld.edu.au.