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Disability Support role a new life for Natalie

Natalie Howe wakes up excited to head into work every day and see the progress of the children she gets to work with.

Ms Howe completed a Certificate III in Individual Support Disability, at South Regional TAFE Bunbury campus in Semester 1 of this year, and was offered a job at a local school in the first week of work experience.

Ms Howe said she loved working with children with disabilities and complex learning needs.

In 2019 the death of a relative lead Ms Howe to make a commitment to pursue her passion and gain a qualification where she could help people with disabilities.

Initially Ms Howe was anxious about going back to study.

“I didn’t have the best educational experience but when I got to TAFE I found I was welcomed with open arms,” she said.

“My lecturers have been awesome. After expressing some concerns they called me and encouraged me to give TAFE a go.

“My experiences at TAFE and in my class were positive. I felt like I was comfortable with the lecturers and I could be myself,” Ms Howe said.

“The lecturers help you to understand that you are part of something bigger and the importance of your role, not just in the workplace but in the wider community.

“In the classroom I was surrounded by like-minded, big hearted people who want to help others, so I loved it.”

Ms Howe completed her training in the new NDIS training rooms at the Bunbury campus and enjoyed the practical learning.

“Once you get into the workplace it is expected you will have excellent manual handling skills and follow the procedures on this precisely,” she said.

“Here [in the training rooms] you have all the tools you need to learn what is required.”

Ms Howe was offered her job after two days into her practical work experience placement at the school. She said she her role was extremely rewarding and as you got to see the children progress.

“It’s the little things you see when you are working with children with disabilities. It gives me butterflies when a child I’ve been working with does something you’ve been teaching them for the first time.”

Ms Howe is considering returning to TAFE in the future to complete further study in her industry or get her Education Support certificate.