Tony Hewett

Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance

At age 58 and after a long career in the construction industry, Tony’s body was beginning to struggle with the physical demands of his trade. He wanted a new career that would see him through to retirement.

“I used to work as an electrician, but it had taken a toll on my body. I wanted to reskill into a job that would keep me in the workforce for longer. I chose health as there’s always a need in the industry, particularly with our ageing population,” Tony said.

“My experience at a TAFE in regional Victoria was a steep learning curve. It was like discovering a whole new language. I learnt a lot of new skills like communicating with patients, moving people safely, using crutches and wheelchairs, even simple things like hospital-grade hygiene. It was all new to me.”

Not long after securing a job at Albury Base Hospital, Tony faced a life-or-death situation in the emergency room which he still remembers clearly.

“I had to assist ambulance staff giving CPR. It was my first time and my adrenaline was pumping. After I worked on the patient for a short while, they returned to consciousness. It was an unbelievable feeling. I was on a high all day.”

Although Tony’s TAFE experience was positive, he thinks the Skills for Victoria review could focus on ensuring quality teaching throughout the VET sector.

“My daughter recently attended a free TAFE course in Melbourne, and she found the teachers to be somewhat unprepared. Because teachers are so essential to the learning process, I think the review could take a look at the quality of teaching in our TAFE system.”