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Passion for TVET and aged care inspires Sandy to change lives

APTC BLOG: Passion for TVET and aged care inspires Sandy to change lives

Mar 16, 2021

Australia Pacific Training Coalition’s (APTC) Specialist Advisor for TVET Projects, Sandy O’Brien, always wanted to do something to influence and help others.

She tried her hands at various jobs over the years, constantly feeling the need to do more in life.

“I left home at an early age due to personal reasons, and going to university was never an option for me at that point. Instead, I had to focus on survival and how to become an adult when still a child,” Sandy said.

“When I was in my 20s, I flew to London on a working visa. I had an office job in an accounting firm, but I would sit and look out the window and think there is more to life than this. One day a girlfriend, who was a nurse, asked if I wanted to look after an elderly woman who needed some support. This was the start of my work within the aged care sector.”

Sandy spent the next few years caring for elderly clients across England in various roles.

“After returning home to Australia, I studied nursing, worked hard, and focused on aged care and how I could improve the environment of the older generation. This is what led me to teach in the TVET sector,” Sandy explained.

A passionate TVET advocate, Sandy has more than 20 years of experience, a range of health and TVET qualifications, and strives to continue growing.

More than anything, she always believed in herself and never gave up.

“When completing my original Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, I was fortunate to have an amazing teacher who inspired me. She opened my eyes to how flexible, versatile, and empowering the TVET sector was.

“Not everyone has the opportunity to go to university. Not everyone wants that pathway. When we look carefully at the careers and jobs available for people, many of these are achieved from studying competency-based training. TVET provides stepping stones for people. No matter what is going on in someone’s life or how old someone is, TVET provides hope and opportunity for the future.

“The joy that I see when students complete a course and feel empowered to move ahead for themselves and their families is the best feeling ever,” Sandy said.

For anyone considering TVET as a career pathway, Sandy advises taking a chance and seeing where it leads.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” she advised.

APTC is managed by TAFE Queensland (RTO 0275).

APTC is an Australian Government initiative in partnership with the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

APTC is implemented by TAFE Queensland (RTO 0275)

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