A Skills4Trade Community Services pre-employment course has been running at TAFE NSW Bathurst for the past four weeks, giving students an opportunity to get a taste of what they could expect if they pursued study or work in the aged care and disability sectors.
Thirteen Bathurst locals will complete the award-winning Skills4Trade course, developing skills that will provide them with a pathway to a Certificate III Individual Support course at TAFE NSW, and exciting real-life employment opportunities in the industry.
Many of the students who enrolled in the course were seeking a career change, including Nicholas Hill, a long-term tradesman. After researching opportunities to be a teacher, he visited TAFE NSW Bathurst and they suggested he look at a career in community services.
“I’ve been working as a tradie for the past 15 years and I’ve contemplated a change in my career but have never taken that next step to pursue it,” he said.
“I saw the Skills4Trade course being advertised and thought it would be a great opportunity to find out what the industry could be like to work in. The TAFE training has been presented professionally and the workplace visits have confirmed that I want to find employment within disability care.”
Another student, Mitchell Webster, who is the facilitator of Bathurst Grow Group, has had previous experience caring for a close family friend who has a disability. Mr Webster said he enjoyed the Skills4Trade course so much he has already enrolled in the Certificate III in Individual Support course.
“The Skills4Trade course has helped me grow personally and taught me patience, resilience and tolerance,” he said.
“The employer visits were great and we were able to interact with the clients. They were amazing and taught me that everyone is different and has different needs. I’ve enrolled in the Certificate III Individual Support course because it is one way that I can give back to my community and help people.”
The final week of the course allowed students to partake in workplace tours of well-known industry experts in the Central West, including Accessible Living Options (ALO), Live Better, St Catherine’s Bathurst and Glenray Industries. The visits gave students the opportunity to interact one-on-one with the employer’s clients
Skillset Workforce Senior Manager, Jane McWilliam, said the Skills4Trade pre-employment course has given students a viable way to confirm their interest in an industry before they commit fully.
“We have had a wonderful group of students complete the community services course and they are all extremely positive about embarking on further study and employment,” she said.
“Many of the participants are choosing to pursue a completely different career and this course has helped them confirm their interest. The employers we have spoken with need workers who have the Certificate III level qualifications and they will be pleased to hear that we have 13 people in the region who are passionate about the aged care and disability sector and are willing to get the qualifications required to be employed.”
Skills4Trade is a collaboration between Skillset Workforce and TAFE NSW. It was launched in 2016 as part of a coordinated approach to help address regional unemployment and skills shortages in key industries.