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How one TAFE course launched Wendy's award-winning career

This article appears in: Business and Accounting, Changing careers, TAFE
VET Lecturer Wendy Blight

Without finishing high school, Wendy moved to the NT and started working in hospitality. Her decision to study a TAFE course at CDU inspired a love of learning, followed by a love of teaching and an unexpected career. 

“I was a bit of a ratbag teenager,” she says. “I left Adelaide to visit a friend in Alice Springs when I was 17 and never went back.”

Wendy worked her way up to own a backpacker business by the time she was 30. Managing the finances sparked a new interest, so Wendy enrolled in a TAFE bookkeeping course at CDU.

It would be the first TAFE course of many—15 to be exact.

Her appetite for learning led her to certificates and diplomas across a variety of study areas, from administration management and accounting to entrepreneurship, retail and work health and safety.

The student becomes the teacher

VET Lecturer Wendy Blight

Hoping to train accounting software as part of her bookkeeping role, Wendy started her TAE (Certificate IV in Training and Assessment) at CDU.

She unexpectedly fell in love with the idea of being a TAFE trainer.

“I never really thought I’d be a teacher and it wasn’t something I decided to do,” Wendy admits.

Once I started, I knew it was what I wanted to do.

With so much experience as a TAFE student, it’s no wonder Wendy is now an innovative, effective and beloved VET teacher.

Helping the next generation

Wendy is now changing the lives of her own students.

Not only did she help improve the completion rates of TAFE in Schools courses, but she also introduced online delivery methods to allow for bigger classes and a more inclusive learning environment for all students.

Wendy feels particularly proud when her AEP (Aboriginal Employment Program) students graduate.

Knowing the barriers they had to conquer to study, it makes me very proud to know I helped get them through.

Her dedication to TAFE students has been formally recognised by the Northern Territory Training Awards, where Wendy was crowned Trainer of the Year. 

Advice for future TAFE students

VET Lecturer Wendy Blight in the classroom

Wendy’s been in the classroom as a student and teacher, so she understands the TAFE study experience through and through. She has two pieces of advice for anyone considering a TAFE course.

Firstly, be open and honest with your trainer.

“Give us feedback so we know what works for you and what doesn’t,” she says. “We can’t help if we don’t know!”

Secondly, Wendy tells her students to “keep your eyes on the prize” when your studies become overwhelming.

“Remember what the overall goal is, breathe, and keep moving,” she says.

It doesn’t matter how slow the journey is as long as you get there in the end.

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