Pathways Magazine (Jun-Aug 2018)_FINAL

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BENDIGO TAFE GRADUATE NAMED VOCATIONAL STUDENT OF THE YEAR

Bendigo TAFE nursing graduate Elise Stewart was named Vocational Student of the Year at the Victorian Training Awards Gala held in Melbourne on Friday 24 August 2018.

Now in their 64th year, the Victorian Training Awards celebrate excellence in the training system, with apprentices, trainees, students, employers, teachers and training providers taking centre stage at the gala awards night at the Crown Palladium in Melbourne. Elise’s win saw her beat out the healthy competition in the Vocational Student of the Year category from the 2017 winner of the Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence, Christian Bashimbe, and community respite carer and business owner Lisa Miller. Elise’s winning edge was her resilience and determination that resulted in her becoming the first deaf person to complete a Diploma of Nursing at Bendigo TAFE. The win also recognised how Elise transformed her passion for helping others into a career in nursing, demonstrating that having a disability shouldn’t prevent anyone from achieving their goals. Speaking during her acceptance speech, Elise commented “All right. Well, I guess the most important thing for me is the people around me. The support network that I have, and it comes from my family, most of all, my wife, who never let me give up. ”

The event was attended by Elise’s family, teachers and friends, along with Bendigo TAFE CEO, Trevor Schwenke who said “Elise’s achievements highlight the significance of vocational education and training in transforming lives, shaping communities and creating opportunities. Her approach to overcoming her barriers and challenges has served as an example to all of us”.

About Elise Stewart

Elise Stewart demonstrates that having a disability shouldn’t prevent anyone from achieving their goals. Initially, Elise was told she couldn’t become a nurse because she is profoundly deaf and could put patients at risk. Through resilience and determination, she became the first deaf person to complete a Diploma of Nursing at Bendigo TAFE. To accomplish this Elise accessed full-time interpreters, lobbied to have electronic materials subtitled, and worked with an audiologist to have equipment amplified so she could hear bodily sounds. Elise’s inspiring work helped to break down the communication barriers for teachers, peers and patients, and her current workplace now has deafness awareness training. “My advice to others is, whatever you put your mind too, you can do it, no matter what your disability or where you come from, just do it!”

Elise Stewart with presenter Virgina Trioli

Elise was awarded a trophy and $5000 in prize money along with becoming the state’s nominee for the Australian Vocational Student of the Year at the Australian Training Awards being held in Sydney on Thursday 15 November.

The nursing graduate is now working as a nurse for St John of God Hospital Bendigo and the high achiever describes her Bendigo TAFE teachers as a critical factor in her success. “The teachers were awesome. Because I’m deaf their teaching in the classroom incorporated interpreters and videos along with the simulated labs and manikins. That gave me good hands-on experience, which is where I learnt a lot,” Elise said.

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