Brendan – a TAFE Equity student

Brendan is a 21 year Aboriginal student who commenced studying at Foundation Studies (Literacy and Numeracy) program at Petersham TAFE College where he received intensive support for a learning disability. This support continued during his studies in aged care at TAFE Outreach in July 2012. In this Access to Aged Care course students study a range of access units and three subjects from the Certificate III qualification for which they receive advanced standing when they pathway to the Cert III.
Brendan has now successfully completed Access to Aged Care and as part of his studies completed a week of work experience at Wyanga Aboriginal Age Care at Redfern where they were so impressed with his skills and knowledge they offered him a job. During his work experience at Wyanga he visited UTS where he met Michael McDaniel’s, the head of the Jumbunna Indigenous Centre of Learning. He encouraged Brendan to look long term at Nursing at UTS where he will receive support from Jumbunna.
While studying Brendan received support from his teachers, TAFE counsellors and Head Teachers. His counsellor nominated him for a TAFE Equity Scholarship and fortunately this was successful which will help towards the costs of studying his next course a Certificate III Acute Care Nursing at Ultimo TAFE College in 2013.
Prior to 2012 Brendan had attempted to complete several mainstream courses but had not been successful. Brendan's story illustrates the importance of specialist literacy and disability teachers, counsellors and adequate access pathways – the professionals and provision that is being undermined by recent cuts to public education and that will be further undermined by Smart and Skilled in 2014.
Brendan’s time at Petersham TAFE has been transformative, he has gained so much confidence and sees himself as someone who can learn and apply his knowledge. One week after completing his course he visited the college and told of how he had used his newly acquired first aid skills to care for an elderly couple who were involved in a car accident. He was commended by both the paramedics and police for his actions that averted much more serious injuries.
There are many more people like Brendan and current government agendas are destroying future education opportunities for people experiencing disadvantage.


Ariyani – a TAFE Equity student

Ariyani first came into contact with TAFE at Connect Marrickville in 2005. She spoke no English and had a small baby and her first entry point was the Indonesian Women’s Group. From there she attended playgroups and the TAFE Outreach Community Engagement/English Class on Wednesday mornings. The crèche run adjacent to the TAFE class allowed her to study. This child care was funded by Outreach and a grant from Metro MRC. As her English improved she joined an Outreach WOW (Work Opportunities for Women) course (Certificate I) and later an Outreach course in Playgroup Facilitation. 
During this time Ariyani was employed by Connect as a casual childcare worker on one of their playgroups and for the crèche for the Community Engagement/English class and she continued to work in this role for several years (2009 to 2011).
In 2012 Ariyani enrolled in Petersham TAFE’s Multicultural Unit’s Cert II in Community Services (Children’s Services) and is now completing her Cert III in Children’s Services at Petersham TAFE College. 
Early in 2013 Ariyani was employed by KU Children’s Services and is valued as a highly skilled childcare worker. 
Ariyani’s education and employment pathway from 2005 to 2012 has been made possible by a strong partnership between Connect and TAFE Outreach and by the provision of a range of access programs and expertise including TAFE Multicultural programs. There are many people in the community with similar needs to those of Ariyani and thus the importance of retaining TAFE equity programs so that they too may have opportunities to pathway into mainstream qualifications, volunteering and employment.