Nasir Sobhani's hairdressing qualifications from Victoria Polytechnic landed him a job he loves, and a way to help others.
Nasir is now employed in a high-profile barber shop in the city.
In his spare time Nasir is The Streets Barber, giving free haircuts and shaves to homeless people.
Nasir said barbering had taken his life in a new positive direction, and provided an opportunity for him to give less fortunate people a clean cut, and clean start.
Lauren Saylor’s career goal since she was a teenager was to work in radio, and TAFE helped get her there.
She completed a course in screen and media at Holmesglen, and has used it to gain work as a breakfast radio producer for a popular FM station.
Lauren did further study, and took up a lecturer role at Holmesglen TAFE, teaching the course she completed there.
Lauren said TAFE allowed her to hone skills she learned through work experience in community radio.
Nasir Ali’s path to a career in accountancy started with a TAFE course at RMIT.
It helped prepare him for further study, including a business degree and chartered accountancy course.
Nasir is now a corporate accountant and settlements officer in the grain industry.
He credits his earlier TAFE studies for empowering him with the skills and knowledge to continue taking steps towards his career goal.
Melinda Lethbridge's love of hands on learning and work led her to Swinburne University of Technology after completing her VCE.
The decision set her on a path to becoming a qualified – and nationally recognised - fitter and machinist.
Melinda won a gold medal in turning at the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition.
She combined her TAFE studies in engineering and mechanical trade with an apprenticeship, and went on to complete a second, related TAFE course.
Melinda took out Swinburne’s best in first and third year awards, has been a Victorian and Australian Apprentice of the Year, and served as an Australian Apprenticeships ambassador.
Janelle Low’s TAFE studies in photography helped her win the photographic equivalent of the Archibald Prize for portraiture.
Janelle was just 22 when she won the National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2013.
She said the award and her career as a freelance photographer specialising in art documentation would not have been possible without TAFE.
Janelle completed a Diploma of Photo Imaging at RMIT.
She has returned to RMIT as a sessional lecturer in photography, and is currently studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts there.
Patrick Janes achieved outstanding results as an apprentice welder, and went on to buy the business where he trained.
His efforts as part of a Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade saw him named the Australian Apprentice of the Year at the 2013 Australian Training Awards.
He was also an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador for the Australian Government.
Patrick now looks forward to training his own apprentices.
He studied at the University of Ballarat, now Federation University.
Matthew De Ruiter’s career change was achieved through Bendigo Kangan Institute.
He worked in several fields before turning to TAFE to pursue a passion for building and construction, sparked years earlier by a home renovation project.
Matthew now runs his own building company employing four full-time apprentices.
His said qualified and experienced TAFE teachers helped set the foundations for his new career.
Francoise Zaninka’s passion for education took her to The Gordon in Geelong.
After arriving in Australia as a refugee from Africa in 2010, she enrolled in a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, which she completed in 2015.
She was one of the TAFE’s top students that year, presented with the CEO Award at the annual Gordon Awards for Excellence.
Her qualification led to full-time employment at a childcare and kindergarten centre.
Francoise hopes to study a Bachelor of Education in future.
Elke Hardy chose a course at Box Hill Institute as her starting point for a rewarding career in nursing.
She is now an enrolled nurse on rotation in an oncology ward, helping care for people with cancer.
Elke completed her course as a mature-aged student, and has since taken on further study.
She recommended the Diploma of Nursing to people of all ages contemplating a career in nursing, saying it taught the skills and knowledge needed to work as an enrolled nurse in a range of health care settings.
James Bennett, 18, used TAFE to fast-track his career plans.
The tractor enthusiast started his school-based agriculture apprenticeship through Wodonga TAFE in Year 11, and is following it up with an agricultural mechanical technology course at Sunraysia Institute in Swan Hill.
James combines his studies with work as an agricultural machinery specialist, diagnosing and repairing tractors and more.
In future, he wants to use his qualifications to work in agriculture while travelling overseas.
Chris Malcolmson’s plumbing course at Holmesglen TAFE built on what he had learned through his family’s long background in the trade.
He finished his studies with a high distinction, and is now director of his family’s almost 40-year-old commercial plumbing business.
Chris, who did a plumbing apprenticeship with his father, said TAFE broadened his perspective of the industry, and sparked his passion for the trade.
He still has contact with the TAFE, and has found apprentices through it.
Jessi McEwan’s cookery course at GippsTAFE (now Federation Training) set her up as a leading young chef.
Jessi was named Australia’s first Young Chef Ambassador in 2014, and represented Australia at the World Chefs’ Forum as part of the role.
The next year, she received a Victorian Young Achiever Award recognising her many culinary achievements.
Jessi said the training, support and encouragement she received at TAFE had been the perfect base for her career.
Crystal Jones has gone from being a cookery student at William Angliss Institute to an award-winning chef catering for royalty.
Since completing her TAFE course she has been a Chef de Cuisine for the royal family in Bahrain, and worked in top international restaurants.
Crystal, whose culinary skills have been recognised with numerous industry awards for excellence, is now a Chef de Cuisine in Melbourne.
She said TAFE built on the knowledge and skills she learned on the job as an apprentice.
Crystal completed her apprenticeship at one of Australia’s top fine dining restaurants.
Indi Clarke’s certificate IV in Business from Sunraysia Institute of TAFE opened up more opportunities for him to make a difference.
TAFE has taken Indi to the position of Manager at the Koorie Youth Council.
He previously used business skills learned at TAFE during his work at an organisation providing health and family services to Koorie people in the Mallee region.
In 2016, Indi was named the region’s Citizen of the Year for his commitment to his culture and community, and was the Aboriginal Student of the Year at the Victorian and the Australian Training Awards.
Sevag Parseghian’s decision to defer a university degree to pursue his life-long interest in hands-on mechanical work has paid off – big time.
He completed Certificate III in Automotive Mechanical Technology (Light Vehicle) at Kangan Institute, combining this with an apprenticeship through a group training organisation, at a luxury car manufacturer.
In 2012, Sev was recognised as one of Australia’s best apprentices, and worked his way to the position of Technical Service Manager at Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific.
He said pursuing a career in something he was passionate about was the key to his success.
Jennifer Peart’s outstanding achievements in a veterinary nursing course at The Gordon TAFE gave her the stepping stone she needed to take her passion for working with animals to the next level.
Jennifer is now a qualified veterinary nurse, and has been accepted into university to study zoology and animal science.
She was named the Victorian Vocational Student of the Year for 2016.
Tim Such’s desire to advance his career saw him study an online management course at Chisolm Institute.
The course helped Tim achieve a promotion to a management role.
He is now considering studying a Master of Business Administration.
Tim said TAFE was ideal for people who had reached the ceiling of achievement in a role, and wanted to take their career to the next level.
For Tim, studying the Diploma of Management online as a mature-aged student worked ideally around his other work and family commitments.
Gemma Olsen’s fascination with animal behaviour led her to TAFE.
She was six months into a psychology degree when she changed direction and enrolled in an Applied Science Animal Technology Diploma at Box Hill Institute.
The move paid off, with Gemma quickly finding work as an animal technician and research assistant.
She also used TAFE as a stepping stone into further study.
Gemma now runs her own animal education and therapy business.
Chris Henbery’s career change was made possible by TAFE.
He left a career in banking to follow his green thumb to a horticulture course at Swinburne University of Technology, and an apprenticeship at a retail nursery.
Chris’ work has been recognised with awards from the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria, and Swinburne. In 2015, he was named the Victorian Apprentice of the Year at the Australian Training Awards.
Chris now buys for a major garden nursery chain, and hopes to one day open his own retail nursery to give apprentices the same opportunities he had.
Sandra Lamonaca used to take photos as a hobby. Now, she does it as a career.
Sandra completed a Diploma of Photo Imaging part-time at Melbourne Polytechnic after originally enrolling in a short photography course.
Her images were recognised at two separate major Australian photography awards in 2016, the year she graduated.
Sandra, who now runs her own photography business, credited her success to a decision later in life to pursue her passion for photography at TAFE.
She recommended TAFE to others, saying it was never too late to start.
Loretta King’s TAFE experience gave her a head start in the beauty industry.
Loretta studied a beauty course at GOTAFE while studying VCAL at school.
She went from head make-up artist for her final high school production to retail manager for a leading make-up brand.
Loretta now runs her own freelance make-up business, and has make-up education and film sets in her sights.
She really enjoyed the hands on learning and creative aspects of her TAFE experience.
Ryan Sessions’ rise to fame as one of Australia’s top chefs started at South West TAFE.
He used a cooking course as a pathway into an apprenticeship and has not looked back.
He first came to public attention at another restaurant, awarded Regional Restaurant of the Year and two Chef's Hats in the Good Food Guide in 2010.
Ryan is a finalist in the Good Food Guide 2017 Chef of the Year award, for his work at the Port Fairy restaurant he owns and runs.
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