Why TAFEs are so Great at encouraging the Creative in You.
No matter what stage of life you are in, going back to school is never a bad idea. Having been in full time work for over thirty years, I can speak from experience in this regard.
In 2009 I was made redundant from my job as a graphic artist and application specialist. I was burnt out and wondered what in the world I could be good for. My husband, who had been encouraging me to return to painting part time as a time out from the pressures of work, strongly suggested that I try going back to my first passion – art.
I didn’t know if that was what I wanted to do full time, or if financially it was even possible so decided to try a couple of courses part time to see how I did. I thought that learning to manage my arts business and teach art and graphics may be an idea so I enrolled in a short course and to my surprise was very quickly enjoying the interaction in the classroom.
Within months, I had completed a Diploma of Management and gained a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. This was such a great incentive as I had no idea I could achieve these successes. So, buoyed by the encouragement from fellow students, teachers, and my husband, I applied for a Diploma of Visual Art at Chisholm TAFE.
At the time, this was a two-year course and required going in to have a folio presentation and interview. I had been doing some drawing and painting at home and in a couple of art societies that I had joined so put together a selection of my best work, my educational records and work records and went along, not expecting to get in, as I was into my fifties at the time.
To my surprise I was very warmly welcomed. The interview was very friendly and I felt immediately at home in the protective courtyard and arts buildings. It was as if the place was wrapping its arms around me to embrace and welcome me. After sorting out the finances, which meant for me, paying a very small up-front payment and putting the rest onto a Government funded loan to be paid back when I gain employment, I was in!
We studied painting, general drawing, life drawing, sculpture, print-making, photography, research and analysis, went to exhibitions, had visiting artist talks, had art camps, and school exhibitions. Students also learnt illustration, and some graphics on computers for our associated activities. We also spent time socialising and enjoying each other’s company.
Two years later I had completed my Diploma with one Distinction and High Distinctions for the rest of my subjects. I was also awarded the Oakhill Gallery Award for Academic Excellence for Emerging Artists. This gave me the chance to have my first solo exhibition!
The next year (last year) I enrolled in an Advanced Diploma in Creative Product Development which allowed me time to build up a body of work (paintings and drawings), write my first fine arts based book and to do further research into running a fine arts business. I completed my course with all High Distinctions. This gave me more courage to think about the degree that I failed to pursue in my youth. With great encouragement from my tutors at TAFE I decided to apply to a few universities to see if I would be accepted for an interview.
This brings us to the end of last year. I was accepted for interviews everywhere I applied to. I went to the meetings and looked at what they had to offer and was offered a place at one of my two choices. By the time the offer came through, however, I had decided as a rural person, to learn online, and had enrolled in Open Universities to Curtin in Western Australia. They were also very welcoming and friendly. I applied for credits from my TAFE courses and was very happy to receive TEN units credited off my course effectively cutting a four-year double degree in half! This is where the time at Chisholm had really paid off. It was because of the work I had done at Chisholm that I was now looking at having the degree I had always been so disappointed at not achieving years ago.
I am now getting ready to enter my third-year studies and am achieving Distinctions and High Distinctions to date.
I am not saying it is all easy – especially learning to write essays at a university level, but if you put in the hard work and persist, you can do it. Plus no matter where you go, there is usually someone you can call on for help.
So to conclude, you may be at the start of your life, or nearing the end. It doesn’t really matter. I studied at TAFE with people from 18 through to their mid seventies. We all learned from each other, we had respect for each other and all had something worth contributing and something to learn.
I can honestly say that going into that folio presentation and completing my courses at TAFE are amongst the best things I have done in my life.
TAFE will be interviewing for next year soon so why not call in to have a look at their booklet of courses to see what looks interesting for you. You never know where it may lead you!
- New friends
- New challenges
- New skills
- New confidence
- New achievements
Look at what it has done for me!
For a link to the Frankston campus that I attended Click Below: