Students upskill for free

IN PRACTICE:  Marlene Paine practises skills for her chosen career with TAFE's Carly Forrest.
IN PRACTICE: Marlene Paine practises skills for her chosen career with TAFE's Carly Forrest. Melanie Keyte

UNLIKE many of her peers, Marlene Paine knows exactly what she wants to do with her life - help people.

The 18-year-old high school graduate is one of 96 school leavers who have enrolled in TAFE's fee-free training program and is poised to start her studies in the new Sunshine Coast Health Institute.

Marlene said she's wanted to be a nurse since she was a child and she couldn't be more excited to train in the new health precinct, where she will be part of the first cohort to study there.

"I'm pretty confident but Ithink getting to the hospital where my course iswill be a bit daunting,” shesaid.

"As a kid, I've always wanted to work in the emergency department, I thought that would be really interesting.

"Basically I'm doing this to see if it's what I wanted to do and if I really like it to build myself up into working at a higher nursing facility.”

TAFE Queensland East Coast school engagement consultant Carly Forrest said there was an increasing demand in sectors such as aged care, health and education.

"As well, our partnership with the new Sunshine Coast teaching hospital, it's a fantastic opportunity for students to go straight into those areas and the first time they'll have access to the amazing resources and teaching facilities,” she said.

The savvy Flaxton-based student is heading out of school and into the hospital with a clear goal but Ms Forrest said the fee-free program was also perfect for school leavers who were less sure of their futures.

"There's so much choice and information coming at Year 12 students and it can become a real information overload,” she said.

"People can put a lot of pressure on themselves.

"I'd really encourage them to take a gap year and do a course - there's no financial burden, it's easy to study and work part-time or maintain your hobbies.

"Then you can take that breather and get some more experience, more knowledge and come out with a qualification.”

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