Escaping the Poverty Trap

Having had seven children it was time to assess the future and make some decisions about how to balance children, work opportunities, earning capacity and goals. It did not take long to realise that with no recent paid employment history and no formal vocational qualifications, entering the lowly paid unskilled insecure workforce, having to report constantly to CentreLink with irregular income, losing family payments, extra costs associated with working would subsume any financial advantage. Children would be disadvantaged with less parental time and having to fit into our work schedules.
On the other hand if I could get some qualifications and become a professional the long term prospects for my family and the possibility of financial independence was much more likely.
Over a decade I juggled family, study and work. Within that decade I had achieved work in my chosen field and a post graduate qualification. My first course was two evenings a week and very challenging having been away from study for a long time and having significant family/domestic responsibilities. I learned from that year of study I was in the wrong field. I had gained confidence, knowledge and skills that enabled me to make choices to continue study in fields more suited to my achieving my potential. Through TAFE and the services it offered as a quality public provider I was able to build a series of qualifications.
It is almost two decades since I returned to study. I will always be grateful that TAFE facilitated my complex pathways that have led to me working in a secure job where I continue my lifelong learning, have job satisfaction and financial independence. My children have grown up and benefited from the opportunities I enjoyed through TAFE.

I cannot imagine how different my life would have been with only one entitlement to a qualification as is being proposed by the O’Farrell government. With that I would have not been able to continue my study and would have remained dependant on government payments. Clearly that would also have impacted on my children.
J G Grateful Escapee

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