Unlocking potential 

l-r: Karen Cole, Mosiana Taufalele-Johns and Joan Collins

A move to Nhulunbuy and enrolling in a VET certificate IV course unlocked the potential in Mosiana Taufalele-Johns.

Mosiana, born in Tonga, lived with her family in regional Queensland. She brought up four foster children and, when they grew up, she was encouraged by her husband Steve to resume her studies as they moved around Australia.

Mosiana studied for an Associate Diploma of Business Management at Kingaroy TAFE and Hervey Bay, Train Small Group with Centralian College at Tennant Creek, and Workplace Assessment Training at Charles Darwin University, Nhulunbuy. She completed her certificate IV in 2003. Mosiana then enrolled in a Bachelor of Business degree by external studies with a NSW university, but deferred after completing only one subject. Without the support she needed Mosiana decided to give away interstate learning because it was all too hard; there was nobody to understand the plight of students in remote areas.

But at Nhulunbuy, CDU certificate IV lecturers Joan Collins and Lara Conaghan supported Mosiana to do her Diploma in Training & Assessment Systems and Diploma in Frontline Management.

This experience and the close support of on-site lecturers inspired Mosiana to do a Diploma in Human Resources, completed in June, and to start a Bachelor of Business degree next year. Mosiana now encourages and inspirers workers at the Department of Health and Community Services to chase their own career development.

CDU lecturers Joan Collins and Karen Cole offer career advice for administration and service staff many of whom come from other countries, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, and speak English as a second language. The Office of Public Employment made available a grant in 2005 through Gove District Hospital for IT training of operation and service staff. There are now 12-14 eager students from housekeeping, kitchen, laundry, administration and cleaning.

Mosiana is currently the regional organisational learning coordinator, Department of Health and Community Services East Arnhem, and helps students to get formal recognition for the expertise they already have, through RPL (recognition of prior learning), and then encourages them to take further studies. Like Mosiana, they too can unlock their potential.