Chris Medcraft

Chris Medcraft Image
Health and Community Services
Tasmania

Manager

It's a pretty amazing turnaround for someone from an Indigenous background with very limited professional skills to find themselves a couple of years down the track running a $1.3 million health service. Add to that, the fact that this turnaround happened to that someone in his 50s after being made redundant, and you have a very remarkable story indeed.

Enter Chris Medcraft, now the Manager of the Mental Health Recovery Program in Hobart and formerly a worker at the Australian Paper Mill in Devonport.

"I had worked at the mill all my adult life and I was 52 when it closed down," said Chris"My redundancy felt like the end of the line but I had to pick myself up and look at the options available to me."

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Not having completed school and with few literacy, numeracy or computer skills, Chris decided that the best option was to re-school through TasTAFE and then begin a vocational education and training (VET) qualification.
His outstanding efforts in completing a Cerficate III and IV in Community Service earned him the Tasmanian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year in 2014 and a place as Runner-up at the Australian Training Awards.

Since then he has gained a Diploma of Mental Health while working for the Richmond Fellowship Tasmania and has completed a Frontline Management Certificate.

"Losing my job was a chance for a new beginning," said Chris"It was the opportunity to do something I was passionate about, which was helping others. Until I discovered the world of TAFE I didn't know how to give substance to that dream. Re-skilling was the answer."

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Chris is now a member of the VET Alumni and wants to share his story to prove that there is a pathway for the ove0s, "as long as you find out what you're passionate about, do your research and make a road map to get there. You don't have to hang on to a job for years that isn't fulfilling. There are no dead ends if you take the opportunity to re-educate yourself," he sid.

Looking back, he says his former self would never have believed how his life has turned out. "I'm someone who didn't know his nouns from his verbs and here I am leading a major health service. I've grown so much as a person and I'm a much better version of myself. Education has transformed me and I am so very grateful for how my life has turned out."