GLEN INNES TAFE has broken down educational barriers by providing an environment to learn and achieve career goals, even if you are legally blind.
Local student Renae McKimm completed the Certificate III in Business Administration in 2014 and has enrolled in the Certificate IV in Business Administration this year to continue her studies.
The difference for Renae this year, is that she is able to use TAFE New England’s web-based learning platform, Catapult, to afford her the opportunity to study in a conventional classroom.
Catapult is compatible with Jaws, which is software used by blind people to process text and other information and read it back to the user.
Miss McKimm said that due to the efficiency of the program, she has nearly completed the entire unit of the Certificate IV in Business Administration and is enjoying studying in a classroom with her classmates.
“I am loving being in a classroom with other students and I have learnt so many new things,’ she said.
“Upon completion of the Certificate IV in Business Administration, I have aspirations to seek employment within the Glen Innes community and I am considering studying the Diploma of Business Administration.
“I would like to do some type of office job where I can use my computer skills to benefit the business.
“I haven’t always been vision impaired; I used to look after children before I became blind so I am keen to get back into the workforce.”
TAFE Business and Creative Industries teacher, Kelly Cook said she encouraged Renae to take the step to study in a classroom format this year.
“I am so proud that she has embraced the opportunity to do so and is thriving,” she said.
“The Catapult program is being used by students across the region, and beyond, to study business and creative courses on campus or from anywhere that suits them.
“Students can literally study our courses from anywhere that they have an internet connection which particularly suits our students who can’t attend the campus due to distance, work and family commitments, or otherwise.”
Renae’s fiancé, Robert Costelloe is also studying at TAFE New England and, like Renae, is also blind. Robert is studying the Certificate I in Information, Digital Media and Technology.