25 July 2012
TAFE has been my salvation
It is my intention, on completion of my Certificate IV in Community Services at the end of this year, to continue on with the Diploma. I do not yet know if the Diploma in Community Services course will be affected by the TAFE cuts.
A critical component of my successful completion of the current course and the next stage is the support of student services, i.e. counsellor and learning support, as without their services, I honestly do not know if I could successfully continue the course.
I have recently discovered that several student service staff have resigned and cannot be replaced because of budget cuts. The remaining staff are working across more campuses with more clients. This makes me feel very vulnerable because I cannot get the same face to face time with student support services.*
TAFE has been my salvation in many ways, as for years now I have not been well enough to contribute to our society and seemingly just existing, instead of truly living in the world. I have been quite immobilised from the symptoms of the illnesses I have. Through my TAFE experience, I have found that I have skills and abilities which would be beneficial to others within a Community Services career.
Prior to becoming ill, I led a very satisfying life, including a very dynamic and fulfilling career in sales management and training (sales, leadership, team building, motivation and personal development), but returning to this career path is unlikely at this stage.
My experience of having illnesses has also changed my paradigm. If somehow I was able to turn all these past years of trauma into a positive experience of helping others, it would not give me back those years, but perhaps give them some value.
TAFE has made such a difference to my life, and if my story could help others (although doing so is outside my comfort zone), then I will be happy to do what I can to help.
*As part of the Baillieu Government's May budget cuts, TAFEs lost the additional funding they receive to fulfill their public service function and provide support to students, including library, learning support and counselling services.
— Keren Lee is a Community Services student