A dedicated studier guides new students to success
It is not a typical scenario for a Year 11 “drop out” to become a “compulsive student” later in life but Katherine Haag is not your typical student. A finalist in the Australian Training Awards Vocational Student of the Year Award in 2015, Katherine has completed seven vocational education and training (VET) qualifications.
“I recently completed a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to learn how to develop and deliver training,” said Katherine. “I am passionate about enhancing financial literacy in young people and this course gave me practical skills I could use to develop this interest further.” Continuing her study journey, Katherine also has a Masters of Social Work underway.
“My 17-year-old self wouldn’t recognise me now but I think she’d be proud of who I’ve become,” laughed Katherine. “I’m a bit of a compulsive studier and having dropped out of Year 11, I’ve surprised myself in the way I’ve pursued education so tenaciously. I was never academic or good at school and it didn’t help that my family background was pretty dysfunctional. But I was lucky to find something I was passionate about and everything grew from there.”
Katherine’s passion revolves around helping people through social and community work. After completing her Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counselling) at the Central Institute of Technology in WA, she is now employed as a Student Assist Officer at the University of Western Australia Student Guild where she provides welfare, academic and financial information, options and advocacy.
In 2019 Katherine graduated from the inaugural Australian Mental Health Leaders Fellowship. The fellowship was developed and led by the National Mental Health Commission and funded by the Australian Government. The first of its kind in Australia, the fellowship was designed to meet the needs of emerging leaders with a passion and a commitment to mental health.
“I am passionate about advocating for my clients and empowering them to break the cycle of poverty,” said Katherine. “My training has provided me with practical advocacy skills and the confidence to speak up for people who are vulnerable.”
“I am also a passionate advocate for training,” said Katherine, who is a proud member of the VET Alumni. “I have experienced first hand the benefits of training and education in helping me overcome challenging circumstances and carve out a successful career. I have been studying for 14 years now and I’m heading in exactly the direction I want thanks to the diverse, valuable and practical qualifications I have gained.”
Katherine’s advice to anyone thinking about undertaking VET is to ‘give it a go.’ “I know that choosing to study can be risky and challenging, but so is getting stuck in a job that you don’t like. Find a course that will lead you to a job and career that you love. Building upon your skills and knowledge is always going to pay dividends and will make you more attractive to an employer in a competitive job market. If you follow your dreams and study something that you’re passionate about you are well on the way to a positive future.”
in 2019 Katherine decided to take a well overdue 'gap year' and head off on a 12 month overseas adventure. First stop - hiking the El Camino in Spain!