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TAFE NSW gives Hannah a head start to a career in mental health

A home-schooled South East teenager is using a TAFE NSW course to graduate from year 12 without having set foot in a classroom for seven years.

Hannah Pond has been home schooled since year three, when faced with her HSC years the bright 18-year-old researched her options and decided to take the one-year adult-learning route. So, she enrolled in the Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation (TPC) offered by TAFE NSW.

The TPC is a year 12 equivalent qualification available to study full-time, part-time or online through TAFE Digital.

“TAFE NSW offered me the chance to complete my qualification in one year instead of two. This means I could be qualified faster to get the job I wanted and move on to further study or employment in the mental health support field,” she said.

“The course is three days a week and studying at TAFE NSW meant that I was in control and could study my way. This allows me the time to keep my job at a local café.”

When she’s not studying or working Hannah spends time gaining hands-on experience with mental health organisation Headspace. To improve her chances of employment she is considering studying a TAFE NSW Diploma of Mental Health.

Headspace Goulburn Services Manager Gail Davies had stated previously “No community is isolated from the need for mental health support. There is a massive need in every community for trained people with this skill set.”

Hannah said she was determined to help make a difference in the lives of people living with mental illness but for now her focus was on graduating from the TPC.

“I’ve learned some good discipline around studying. My TAFE NSW teachers have taught me different strategies for studying, they have lots of helpful tips to offer.”

TAFE NSW teacher Cathy Burge said in her 20-years teaching the TPC, she was often impressed by the growth in students’ confidence, academic skills and social skills.

“I’ve seen students start the year with low confidence and low academic skills, but with support from their teachers, most gain confidence and their academic skills grow to a point where they are far more successful at studying than they had ever been.”

“In the early stages of the course we concentrate on teaching our students to be focused and organised about their study. The students often surprise themselves. Students come away with the skills they need and the academic literacy for further study,” she said .

The TPC is offered at TAFE NSW across the state and online through TAFE Digital. For more information phone 13 16 01 or visit

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