Life experience a bonus for TAFE student
SIXTY is the new 30 when you consider the stellar academic career of Christine Cooper.
At 60 years young, Ms Cooper is one of many outstanding students nominated for recognition at the Lismore TAFE Excellence Awards held at the Lismore Workers Club on Thursday, March 9.
Ms Cooper has been nominated for an Excellence Award for her studies in the Certificate II Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways.
A vocal advocate for continual learning, Ms Cooper said she always wanted to continue her studies but left school early to help out the family with her income.
"When I was 16 I had to leave school because my family needed the financial support, so I went off to do secretarial studies even though I always wanted to go on to years 11 and 12," she said.
"I completed my Higher School Certificate in my thirties, then went on to do a Bachelor of Community Education in my forties, and here I am in my sixties graduating from a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, always learning".
Ms Cooper said she enjoyed a fulfilling and vast work history spending much of her career in government, supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community health organisations.
Now she brings her years of insights and her most recent TAFE studies to a new role with the YWCA's Kids for Life program.
Ms Cooper highly recommends returning to study at any age, particularly for those over 50, to keep their minds active but also to stay connected with the community.
"I was the primary carer for my elderly parents for a few years and had some major surgery on my neck, during that time at home I realised that I needed a purpose, I needed to be out in the community making contact with people, learning and keeping my mind alert and busy," she said.
Ms Cooper believes that aside from the reward of a fulfilling new career, her studies will stand her in good stead to enjoy her role of Nana to her three young grand-daughters.
"Everything that I have learned translates to everyday life," she said.
"It has already helped me with my young grand-daughters, we are in the twenty-first century, the world has changed massively since I was a parent of young kids."