TAFE SA student Sandy Deol is embracing change and challenge in his efforts to become a nurse in a regional community.
Sandy (pictured) has relocated his family from Adelaide to Mount Gambier and is juggling full-time work with study to achieve his goal.
After contemplating a career change for a while, Sandy says a Destination Australia scholarship gave him the final piece of encouragement that he needed.
“I had been thinking about studying nursing for a while. I’d just decided to enrol in the course at TAFE SA when a friend told me about the Destination Australia scholarship,” Sandy says.
“I applied about two days before the deadline, and I was so relieved when I heard that I’d been successful.”
Funded through the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment, the Destination Australia program is designed to encourage people to live and study in regional Australia, while also addressing skill shortages.
In 2022, TAFE SA had five Destination Australia scholarships for nursing training available at its Mount Gambier and Whyalla campuses.
The highly prized scholarships cover the fees for full-time study of the Diploma of Nursing over two years.
For Sandy, who moved to Mount Gambier in April 2022 with his wife and young daughter, the scholarship eases the financial burden involved in re-training while supporting a family and he’s grateful for the opportunity.
“There’s a shortage of nurses in regional areas and so there are employment opportunities but it’s also a way to serve the local community,” he says.
“I see nursing as a good profession. It’s meaningful work and it offers job satisfaction.”
Sandy has completed his first semester of study and says he’s enjoyed the supportive learning environment provided by his TAFE SA lecturers.
“There’s a lot to learn but the knowledge you gain about the human body is amazing,” he says.
The course is a mix of online study, practical learning blocks and regular work placements.
Sandy says his first work placement, at an aged care centre in December 2022, has helped him relate his classroom learning to a practical setting, practise new skills and extend his learning.
Since relocating to Mount Gambier, Sandy says he and his family have been made to feel welcome in their new surroundings.
“We’re enjoying the natural beauty of the region and the lack of traffic, everything we need is just five minutes away,” he says.
Destination Australia 2022 (Round 3) – an Australian Government initiative