A Leeton father has been inspired to eye an unlikely career change - from the abattoirs to the community services sector - after helping his autistic son navigate the complexity of the health system.
Eddie White, 46, has recently completed two short courses at TAFE NSW Leeton, the Introduction to Home and Community Care and Introduction to Health and Community Services, so he could transition to a new career frontier.
The health care and social assistance industry is the largest employing industry in Australia and is awash with jobs.
In 2018 there were close to 1.7 million people employed in this industry, with the National Industry Insights Report expecting that figure to swell to over 1.9 million by 2023.
For Mr White, attractive job prospects were only a small part of the reason for his foray into a new career.
"After seeing what my son had been through, and some of the issues I'd seen in my own life, I was really driven to want to help others," he said.
"I feel like with my life experience and the training from TAFE NSW, I could equip others with the knowledge and skills to understand themselves better before it's too late."
After completing the two short courses, Mr White has now commenced studying a Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) at TAFE NSW Leeton.
"My whole experience at TAFE NSW so far has been great, from the customer support ladies who helped me, to the teachers who explain things so thoroughly and have so much industry knowledge," he said.
"My goal is to become a case worker for young people with disabilities and be able to help them and influence them to shape their lives for the better."
TAFE NSW head of skills team - health, wellbeing and community services, Anne Barrow, said qualifying to work in the NDIS sector didn't just open up myriad job opportunities, but it offered genuine work satisfaction.
"There's been a seismic shift in thinking in how the disabled community accesses assistance and anyone can be a part of that by getting the practical skills and work experience that's required to work in the industry," Ms Barrow said.
"It's very satisfying to have a career where you get to play a part in really changing another person's world."
Students will continue to study the Certificate III in Individual Support at TAFE NSW Leeton this term using web conferencing technology. This type of connected learning supports social distancing, while enabling students to progress their studies.
To find out more about studying the Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) at TAFE NSW Leeton, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.