Home' Sunraysia Daily : Skills Contents Sunraysia Daily Monday, May 3, 2010
PAT O'Farrell was stung by the education bug 10 years ago.
As a manager in a citrus packing shed, he found himself needing to gain a better
understanding of health and safety laws.
"It was becoming a bigger thing at that time, the whole occupational health and
safety aspect, and I had my views on what health and safety was about but I needed
to come on board in terms of what the law was," he said.
Pat enrolled in a five-day course at Sunraysia Institute of TAFE studying Basic
Industrial Health and Safety.
When he signed up, Pat says further education was the last thing on his mind. But
with a fantastic teacher who inspired and challenged him, that all changed.
"I had no concept of going further with the study, but the five-day course got me
more motivated and excited about the whole area of health and safety," he said.
"I was always questioning what I was being taught, thinking the teacher's got it
wrong but I would go away and figure out, 'no they're spot on'."
Having completed a Certificate IV in Occupational Health and Safety, Pat went on to
study a Diploma of Occupational Health and Safety.
He now works as the health and safety manager at GBC Motors in Mildura.
"Working with tractors and machinery, it is important to display a strong level of
safety leadership on the job," he says.
His advice to others: "It is never too late to learn."
Pat O'Farrell, 52
Certificate IV in Occupational Health and Safety
Diploma of Occupational Health and Safety
Sunraysia Institute of TAFE
STUDYING has given Renata Deluca, 39, the biggest confidence boost and the
chance to fulfil her childhood dream of becoming a qualified chef.
Renata is currently studying Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
through Sunraysia Murray Group Training (SMGT).
"I've always wanted it, since a teenager, but coming from an ethnic family meant
I was not able to achieve my dream," she says.
"I was married at 21, had children, but now, I thought, it's time for me and I'm
going to do it."
The training forms part of Renata's apprenticeship which she began at the
Coomealla Club. She now works in the kitchen at Chaffey Restaurant and hopes to
be qualified by the end of the year.
The theory component of the apprenticeship is undertaken at SMGT's Skills
"I am really enjoying the study, both practical and theory," she said. "And being
in the kitchen's good."
Her husband is a great support, helping out with the children while she is
studying and working.
Renata says the course is formalising the skills she has been honing in her own
kitchen over many years.
"I have a real passion for cooking," she said.
"My hope is to open my own cafe in town.
"This training has given me such confidence; before starting, I didn't have a lot
of confidence. Now it is building up so much that I just want to get out there and
show everyone what I can do."
Renata Deluca, 39
Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
Sunraysia Murray Group Training
Hope Burns, 31
Certificate II in Business Administration
Certificate III in Business Administration
Sunraysia Institute of TAFE
HOPE returned to study to give herself a career and a
better family-work balance.
While juggling the role of student and mum to her
young daughter, Hope has completed a Certificate II in
Business Administration at Sunraysia Institute of TAFE
and went on to complete a Certificate III in Business
She says she chose business administration
because of the customer focus aspect, something she
"My background was in sales, a long time ago," she
"I wanted to get back into the workforce and so I
needed to update my skills to increase my chances of
finding a job."
But Hope wasn't just looking for a job, she wanted
to find a career.
"I needed something with stability and set hours so I
could have a family life, and retail and hospitality don't
offer that," she says.
"But I wanted something that also would offer career
advancement, something I can work towards long-
Hope is currently employed as an administrative
assistant at Mildura Rural City Council.
Hope says she had amazing support from carers
through Mildura Rural City Council's Family Day Care
service, which made the world of difference. She also
took every opportunity on campus to work hard and
complete her homework and assignments, leaving
more family time.
"It doesn't matter who you are - it's a juggle to raise
a child and study, but in the end it's so worth it," Hope
"It is a good example for children to see that no
matter what your age or situation, there is always a way
to work around things and get that qualification."
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