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Caring for the community: how Kelly’s idea became a plan

by Amanda Collins

From a young age Kelly wanted to make a difference, to help people. This desire followed her from school to work. It sat in the back of her mind for over a decade as she navigated a range of administration jobs, married the love of her life, and settled happily into motherhood.

It would surface from time to time as a question in her mind, ‘what job can I do that would really help people?’, and it was the motivation behind a Google search that led her to Open Colleges’ Certificate III in Home and Community Care, a course that would change her life.

home and community care course

A caring career

“I’ve worked most of my life in administration and always wanted to help other people. Aged care allowed me to do that, to be there for them,” she said, adding “And I just felt like a change.”

Determined to see where the online study path could lead, Kelly dived into her studies on the days that she was not at her administration job with the Sunshine Coast Council.

“I designated time to do it each week. I work Mondays and Tuesdays with the Council, but the rest of the days I designated a couple of hours to do my studies,” she said.

The ideal fit for a working mum, online study offered Kelly the flexibility to mould her study around her life, so that she was able to keep working, care for her 8 year old daughter, Amelia, and still have time for her husband, Neil.

“Doing it online I found was really easy for me. It fit so easily into my lifestyle. I think if I were to study aged care at a TAFE or something, and I had to go to the campus regularly, it wouldn’t have fitted into my life as easily,” she said.

learning online with a family

Getting the support she needed

“It was a really good learning experience. The learning materials were very in-depth and informative,” she added.

Uneasy about the isolation she thought may come with online study, Kelly was surprised by the level of support she received during her course.

“If I ever needed advice or guidance there was always someone there to answer my questions. The student support were wonderful,” she said.

“Sanet, who’s the Trainer on the course, she was always there to offer me advice, guidance and support. She was just always there which was really lovely,” she added.

Indeed, her Trainer Sanet became a lifeline during her studies, always quick with an answer or advice when Kelly most needed it.

“Sanet was always there and always very supportive. I always had a lot of faith and trust in Open Colleges because they were there for me.” she said.

Being able to take her knowledge and skills out into a real world environment, working with actual clients as part of her course-required work placement, was an important step for Kelly.

“It was more full-on than I’d imagined. But at the same time, even though it was challenging, it was also very rewarding because I was helping others, and I got to form nice bonds with the clients as well.”.

Responding to a need in the community

This interaction with people opened Kelly’s eyes to the huge need in the community for not just experienced carers, but for people versed in mental health as well.

“You see a lot of people who have mental health issues when you go out into the community. Everyone’s got different situations and circumstances. You see a lot of people with depression and anxiety and it just made me think that studying a certificate in mental health might be a huge advantage if I want to work in the aged care industry,” she said.

Connecting with people and not only helping them with their physical wellbeing, but also with their mental health has now become a real goal of Kelly’s.

“I now want to study a Certificate IV in Mental Health so I can combine community care with mental health to offer people a holistic approach to health,” she said.

study and work part time

Now a graduate, in-between work, family and long walks with her beloved dogs Echo and Leroy, Kelly has begun volunteering at a local community care facility.

“I really want to do something that benefits the community. I want to actively work in the community,” she said.

Do you want to make a difference?

A Certificate III in Home and Community Care will give you the skills, knowledge and experience to help people in need. Enrol anytime and study online, fitting study around your life.

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