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Ballina News

FROM SUPERMARKETS TO SPECIAL CARE: TAFE NSW HELPS CAREER-CHANGER FOLLOW NURSING DREAM

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Crelleain Robertson - TAFE NSW’s fee-free Diploma of Nursing

FROM SUPERMARKETS TO SPECIAL CARE: TAFE NSW HELPS CAREER-CHANGER FOLLOW NURSING DREAM

 

A TAFE NSW Ballina graduate proves it’s never too late to follow your passion after switching careers from a retail worker to a nursing graduate at 45 years of age. Spring Grove local, Crelleain Robertson, was able to balance her career change with her family life by enrolling in TAFE NSW’s fee-free Diploma of Nursing in 2023.

Crelleain’s story reflects a broader trend with job mobility hitting 9.5% in 2023 for the second year in a row, the highest rate in a decade according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Even industries typically considered stable faced significant shifts after a period of workplace shutdown due to Covid, leading more people to reconsider their future career path.

When considering the change after a retail career spanning 30 years, Crelleain credits the fee-free Diploma course with making her decision to return to study easier.

“I’ve wanted to pursue nursing for some time, and was even accepted into a Bachelor of Nursing, but the timing didn’t work for my family. I still had kids in primary school, and the thought of balancing full-time university study with work was too much at that time.

“I was considering different pathways and found I could pursue enrolled nursing through TAFE NSW. Cost was a consideration for our family, so when I discovered the course was fee-free it was such a relief. Everything lined up – by this stage, my kids were more independent, and I was able to balance my studies with work,” Crelleain said.

The health care and social assistance sector stands as Australia’s single largest employer, boasting over 2.2 million workers, of which 76 per cent are women. TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Allied Health and Nursing, Colleen Gaudron, said she’s been pleased to see an increase in mature-age women switching careers to study nursing particularly as the demand for nurses increases, with a projected shortfall of 123,000 nurses in Australia by 2030.

Crelleain Robertson - TAFE NSW’s fee-free Diploma of Nursing

Crelleain Robertson

“Many women tell me that nursing is something they’ve always wanted to do but then life got in the way,” she said. “Once their children become older and more self-sufficient, it becomes their time to pursue their career goals. TAFE NSW offers the perfect environment as we provide flexible study options and a range of support services.

“Most women will underestimate the valuable skills they bring not only to the classroom but to a new profession. Mature-age students often excel in nursing due to their extensive life experiences.

“They bring an array of essential skills that are transferable to nursing – communication, time management, working in a team, collaborating, and conflict resolution. Often, they’ll have an increased capacity to remain calm under pressure and provide the younger students with support that fosters a positive experience for all,” Ms Gaudron said.

Crelleain said the hands-on experience she’s gained throughout the course so far has further boosted her confidence in the clinical environment, and she has recently been successful in achieving an Assistant in Nursing position at St Joseph’s Nursing Home in Lismore.

“My experience in retail has translated to nursing, allowing me to communicate with colleagues and connect with patients, but since I started at TAFE NSW, I’ve learned so much about the body and the issues that affect people’s health.

“I recently performed a blood transfusion, which was exciting. Through my work placements in aged care and on the cardiovascular ward at Lismore Base Hospital, I’m honing my hands-on skills with the support of experienced nurses,” she said.

All healthcare courses, including the TAFE NSW fee-free Diploma of Nursing are currently fee-free.

 

For more Education news, click here.

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Ballina News

Greens Unveil Ambitious Plan for Accessible Beaches in Northern Rivers

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Accessible Beaches in Northern Rivers

Greens Unveil Ambitious Plan for Accessible Beaches in Northern Rivers

 

Representatives from the Greens across all levels of government have come together to launch an innovative initiative aimed at financing accessibility upgrades for local beaches.

This initiative comes in response to findings from Accessible Beaches, which indicate that not a single beach in the Northern Rivers region is fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

The plan was officially introduced at Seven Mile Beach, where Joel Taylor, World Para Surfing Champion and 2023 Ballina Shire Citizen of the Year, joined the Greens for the announcement.

Abigail Boyd, NSW Greens spokesperson for Disability Rights and Inclusion, emphasised the urgent need for dedicated funding in the upcoming NSW budget to facilitate accessibility upgrades at beaches state-wide. Ms. Boyd advocated for an allocation of $25 million to assist councils in implementing these vital improvements.

Accompanied by Greens candidate for Richmond, Mandy Nolan, Ballina Shire Councillor Kiri Dicker, and Byron Shire Council candidate Elia Hauge, Ms. Boyd conducted an extensive tour of Northern Rivers beaches to assess accessibility firsthand.

In addition to seeking funding at the state level, the Greens are proactively engaging with local councils. Motions will be proposed in both Ballina and Byron Shire Councils to encourage greater disability access to their respective beaches. Furthermore, Mandy Nolan urged the federal Labor government to contribute funding towards this crucial cause.

Addressing the pressing issue, Abigail Boyd underscored the fundamental right of all individuals to access and enjoy the state’s pristine beaches. She criticized the historical neglect from various levels of government, which has resulted in the exclusion of people with disabilities from experiencing these natural wonders.

Mandy Nolan echoed these sentiments, expressing dismay over the lack of accessibility for older individuals and wheelchair users in the Richmond electorate. She called for proactive leadership and tangible solutions to rectify this longstanding issue.

Kiri Dicker emphasized the importance of universal design principles in creating inclusive public spaces, stressing that beach access should be available to all individuals regardless of their physical abilities.

Elia Hauge highlighted the comprehensive nature of accessible beach infrastructure beyond mere ramps or mats. She underscored the need for accessible parking, safe pathways, permanent beach wheelchairs, and adequate facilities to ensure inclusivity for the entire community.

In conclusion, the Greens reiterated their commitment to working across all levels of government to secure funding and accountability measures necessary to make Northern Rivers beaches fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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Ballina News

New Ballina youth festival – Thrillfest – announced for Youth Week

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Thrillfest

New Ballina youth festival – Thrillfest – announced for Youth Week

 

A new youth festival, Thrillfest, will be held in Ballina for the first time during Youth Week, featuring a battle-of-the-bands, skateboarding workshops, and football drills – and free buses will ferry young people to the events.

The Ballina Youth Network is organising Thrillfest, and the not-for-profit organisation Social Futures is part of that network. The festival will be held on April 16, from 11am, at Missingham Park, Ballina with the support of Rotary Ballina, Cherry Street Sports Club, Ballina Shire Council, Hartley’s Fruit Shop and Ballina Buslines.

Social Futures Children Youth and Families Manager, Kiara McBeath said the Thrillfest lineup was a testament to the diverse interests and skills of the region’s young people.

“Thrillfest festivities kick off with the Battle of the Bands, where aspiring musicians will hit the stage to compete for amazing prizes,” Ms McBeath said. “Get ready to cheer for your favourites and witness the birth of the next big thing in music.

“You can also grab a board and join a skateboarding workshop run by Truckstop Skate School. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned skater or just starting, the Truckstop experts will guide you through techniques and tricks that’ll have you owning the pavement in no time.

“And for the sports enthusiasts, join in on our lively footy drills – a chance to show off your skills and maybe even learn a few new ones.

“The day is all about celebrating young people and their immense talents – from music to skateboarding to sport. And of course, it’s all about having fun!”

There will also be interactive games, and a free BBQ lunch.

“In an effort to make Thrillfest accessible to every teen in Ballina, there will be free transport on the day,” Ms McBeath said.

“Every bus network in Ballina is supporting this event by offering free transport to Tamar Street all day long for young people,” Ms McBeath said.

“Join us for an unforgettable day of fun, friendship, and fanciful feats. Ballina’s youth are the heartbeat of our community, and Thrillfest is here to celebrate that energy and creativity.”

National Youth Week, April 11-24, is a week-long celebration of the contribution that young people make to Australia. It is a joint initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments. Each year, all over Australia, events are planned and organised to celebrate and recognise the contribution of young people.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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Alstonville News

Seniors encouraged to get moving this April Falls Month

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April Falls Month

Seniors encouraged to get moving this April Falls Month

 

Older Australians in Northern New South Wales are being encouraged to get physically active this April, to help build their strength and maintain their independence.

Better Balance for Fall Prevention is the theme of this year’s April Falls Month, an annual event held throughout April supported by the NSW Fall Prevention and Healthy Ageing Network to encourage older adults to become more active and reduce falls.

Locally, exercise and dance classes for people aged over 50 are underway in Alstonville, Casino, Grafton, Lismore, Tweed Heads, Wardell, Yamba and across the Northern Rivers.

Health Promotion Manager, Elayne Mitchell said staying physically active is the single most important thing we can do to stay independent as we age.

“As we get older, our bodies lose muscle strength and coordination, so the more active we remain, the better chance we have of maintaining our physical function,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Improving strength and balance in our legs allows us to complete regular daily activities more easily, including getting up and down stairs, in and out of cars, negotiating uneven surfaces and reducing the risk of falling.

“Older people benefit from regular tai chi, group exercise programs, gym sessions, community-based falls prevention programs such as Stepping On, or simple exercises at home to improve muscle strength and balance.

“Research has also shown that regular exercise can reduce falls in older people by 23 per cent, but slowly building up high-challenge balance exercises can increase the effects of exercise by up to 40 per cent.”

NNSWLHD is partnering with Rotary Clubs across the District to provide pop-up Falls Prevention Awareness information stalls, where you can find out about falls prevention and healthy ageing.

Locations

  • Friday 5 April, 10am-4pm, Lismore Square, Uralba and Brewster St, Lismore
  • Sunday 7 April, 8am-midday, Iluka-Woombah Community Markets, Middle Street, Woombah
  • Thursday 11 April, 9am-2pm, Alstonville Plaza, 93 Main St, Alstonville
  • Friday 12 April – Sunday 14 April, 9am – 3pm, Bunnings, 2 Bruxner Hwy, Lismore
  • Friday 12 April – Sunday 14 April, 9am – 3pm, Bunnings, River Street and Horizon Dr, West Ballina
  • Friday 19 April, 10am-4pm, Lismore Square, Uralba and Brewster St, Lismore

The Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) has collaborated with the NSW Fall Prevention and Healthy Ageing Network to produce a range of April Falls resources for patients, families, carers and health staff.

Fall Prevention information is also available on the CEC website.

To find local physical activity and healthy lifestyle programs, including fall prevention programs, visit the Active and Healthy exercise directory. Information and advice to support older adults to be more active is also available on the Active and Healthy website. This includes home-based exercise circuits designed for beginners to follow along at your own pace from the comfort of your own home.

 

For more seniors news, click here.

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