A TAFE NSW Young graduate who has harnessed the power of education to overcome the scars of a traumatic childhood has been awarded a prestigious Aboriginal education and training award.
Ash Voll, a proud Worimi man living in Cootamundra, was taken from his parents and raised by his grandparents from the age of five after an early childhood marred by dysfunction.
This exposed him to a series of Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) caseworkers, whose compassion and care inspired him to pursue a career in the same field and enrol in a Diploma of Community Services at TAFE NSW Young.
Mr Voll, 26, graduated earlier this year and has secured a Home Care Package Coordinator role at the DCJ office in Cootamundra, with plans to become an Aboriginal case worker.
In emotional scenes at the recent 2022 TAFE NSW Gili Awards, Mr Voll was honoured with the Health, Wellbeing and Community Services Student of the Year Award.
He described the award as a "highlight of my life" and thanked his TAFE NSW teachers for giving him the practical skills - and confidence - to be recognised.
"It's such a huge honour to be recognised for something I'm passionate about," Mr Voll said.
"I put all my faith in TAFE NSW to help me find a better job and better opportunities in my life.
"I went in with high expectations and came out with them exceeded."
TAFE NSW Young Community Services teacher Andrew Bailey said Mr Voll's award win was a powerful example of how TAFE NSW could help students unlock their potential and thrive in their chosen field.
"Here you have a young fella from the bush who was working at Woolies part-time and he's suddenly earning a good salary and is up on the podium accepting a big award," Mr Bailey said.
"To watch that personal growth is incredible and it's a testament to both his talent and perseverance, and the ability of TAFE NSW to give people the skills and experience to change their own lives.
"Community services is such a great industry to be a part of right now; there are more jobs than applicants and TAFE NSW graduates are in such high demand."
According to a National Industry Insights Report, the community services sector is indeed in a steep growth phase, with 1.8 million people employed nationally in 2021, a figure expected to climb to 2 million by 2025.
To find out more, call 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au
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