Michelle Silva of Nambucca Heads had always dreamed of becoming a nurse, but as a mature-aged single mum who left high school in year 10, she knew that she needed a pathway back into education.
“When I became a single mum of three, I had to reassess my place in the workforce and I knew TAFE NSW would be the best place to go,” Ms Silva said.
“You get the best opportunities through TAFE, you know it’s linked to businesses and the courses are designed around the industry you want to go into.”
Ms Silva completed a Certificate III Health Services Assistance at TAFE NSW Macksville in 2011, winning an Award of Excellence, and securing employment in the aged care industry.
In 2012 Ms Silva completed a Certificate IV in Aged Care at TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour, then fulfilled her dream of becoming a registered nurse, by completing a Bachelor degree in Nursing through Southern Cross University in 2017.
“While my end goal was always to become a registered nurse, it was during my early TAFE studies with inspiring teacher Maria Metz, that I decided I wanted to also become a teacher and bring in the next generation of aged care workers,” she said.
When it came to furthering her teaching dream, Ms Silva again chose TAFE NSW to complete her qualifications. She is currently enrolled in a Diploma of Adult Education and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment with TAFE Digital.
“TAFE Digital is really flexible, so I can do it at my own pace, on whatever days and time suits me. I’m working as a casual, so it works well around my schedule. As I’m doing two courses, I’ve also got the option to fast track the Diploma which means I’ll be ready to teach sooner.
“Being a mature-aged student isn’t a problem. I have so much knowledge I want to impart and I want to become the best teacher possible. People in aged care facilities need to have the best quality care possible with the best quality workers and through TAFE I’m developing the best skills to pass on that knowledge.”