Susan McGuire (left), with ACE Community Colleges trainer Karra Mclean.
Susan McGuire (left), with ACE Community Colleges trainer Karra Mclean.

ACE Community Colleges helps Susan secure dream job in aged care

When unemployed Susan McGuire contacted her local community organisation in a bid to help her re-enter the workforce, she had no idea it would lead to a job and new career.

In just over three short months, thanks to the Queensland Government's Community Learning program, 58 year old Susan turned her life around completing nationally accredited training and securing a job.

"I'd been unemployed for five years caring for my daughter who was involved in a serious car accident," Susan said.

"I had previously worked in retail, but after looking after my daughter and spending the past 12 months doing casual volunteer work at a day respite centre, I wanted to re-enter the workforce in care. I particularly have a soft spot for the elderly."

When Susan contacted her local Adult Community Education (ACE) College at Burleigh Heads she discovered she was eligible for the Community Learning program, which helps disadvantaged learners to gain qualifications up to certificate III level.

As Susan was not eligible for Australian Government services or assistance and did not already hold a certificate III or higher qualification, she was a prime candidate for the program.

It was a big step for Susan to participate in the training, but after talking about her concerns with her trainer she received the extra support and encouragement she needed to overcome her learning barriers.

"I am older and only went to Year 8 at school," she said.

"I was scared about doing any courses as I struggle with spelling. My trainer reinforced that there would be help available and that I wouldn't be alone. She gave me the confidence to enrol and do the course."

Since commencing her certificate, Susan hasn't looked back.

"At first I had trouble understanding the questions, but my trainer was so helpful, understanding and supportive. She was easy to approach and never once made me feel undervalued."

Susan completed a dual certificate program, earning a Certificate III in Aged Care and Home and Community Care, and now has a casual job with OzCare Burleigh.

This experience has sparked a passion for learning in Susan. She has now enrolled in a certificate IV and has set her sights on a diploma after that.

"Don't doubt yourself because of your age and think no one will employ you. There is so much support out there to give you confidence to go after what you want."

The Community Learning program funds community based organisations and registered training organisations to deliver innovative projects that assist disadvantaged learners in their local communities. Within these projects, disadvantaged learners are provided high levels of support to participate in and complete nationally recognised skills and qualifications in demand by local employers.



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