Natasha felt ill when she attended the graduation ceremony for the Certificate III in Disability in 2017. She forced herself to attend the ceremony to support a friend she had made when she began the course herself, before homelessness and other issues caused her to drop out.
But, in December last year, Natasha returned to the Future Social Service Institute (FSSI) – this time to accept her own graduation certificate after making the courageous decision to return to study and gain a qualification that would enable her to work in the disability sector.
The Thomastown resident was initially attracted to the course as a pathway to studying nursing, with FSSI being her preferred provider because its scholarship covers all associated costs, not just the course fees.
‘I only made it just under halfway because I was just going through a lot with my own battles…my mum and I never got along so I was homeless at that time. My relationships weren’t good, and I was going between places to stay.’
‘I had to talk to people to try and get support but I didn’t want to.
‘After that I kind of gave up, like what am I going to do? I just gave up an opportunity no one else has had. I started to doubt myself and blame myself for everything.’
But Natasha stayed in touch with the teaching staff, who encouraged her to give it another go.
‘I wanted to take a couple of days to think about it because I didn’t want to let anyone down.’
With the help of her partner and his family and Hope Street Social Worker Kate Clarke, who secured her housing and support, Natasha not only completed the course but is well placed to begin her career after being invited to apply for a position at the organisation where she completed her work placement.
‘I’m pretty happy about that,’ Natasha says. ‘It was totally worth it.
‘I’m forever grateful. If it wasn’t for Sally (FSSI’s Deputy Director Sector Engagement and Capability Development) and FSSI and RMIT, I really don’t know where I’d be.
‘It’s given me a purpose; not will I have I gained this qualification but, through all of this support that FSSI and RMIT have provided me, I have become stronger and I just know I can do it.’
If you are interested in a career in disability or aged care, click here for details on the Certificate III scholarship.