Liam Shay - from strength to strength in Community Service

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Liam Shay transitioned from Year 12 to the Diploma of Community Services, a course he chose on the advice of his school careers counsellor, and one that would build on his experience of volunteering and passion for helping people in his local community. Liam said that at such a young age he thought he must be born for Community Services! “But I quickly learned there was so much more – the whole sphere of the Human Services sector and all the opportunities it encompasses”, said Liam.

At 18 and fresh from school, Liam soon found it was a real challenge taking on study at diploma level, alongside the demands of life and his rehab towards recovery from the cardiac arrest that had almost stolen his life as a fifteen-year-old. Liam is quick to acknowledge and praise the support he received as a student from Wodonga TAFE’s Support Services staff, particularly Kasey our Disability Liaison Officer and Tahlie our Student Welfare Officer. “I would not have completed my studies without their support”, continued Liam, “They helped me immensely while I juggled the demands of my life and my tertiary studies.”

Liam continued to volunteer with service providers locally and extended his network of contacts, which was highly beneficial, leading to many more opportunities including employment at local primary schools, and participation in the Wodonga Youth Leadership Program. Liam won the Wodonga Youth Ambassador Award in 2012 which is the highest award at the Wodonga Red Carpet Youth Awards. His service to the community was also recognised when he was awarded Wodonga’s Youth Citizen of the Year Award in 2015 as a joint winner.

Liam’s extensive network of contacts led him full circle, to employment as a Participation Assistant supporting the students within the Adult Migrant English Program with Wodonga TAFE. Liam is now successfully studying at university and is in his third year of Social Work and working towards Masters at La Trobe University, all while continuing his employment with Wodonga TAFE and helping other students succeed.

Liam said he always made the effort to keep in contact with his mentors at TAFE, and to surround himself with positive support. He said throughout his course his teachers at Wodonga TAFE played an important role, helping him build connections with the industry organisations he became involved with. “Without the people here at TAFE it would be incredibly difficult for me personally and the community more widely to build connections”, explained Liam. “There are so many fantastic opportunities here. I would really encourage all students to leave with a connection – to keep in touch with your teachers and mentors as they are industry professionals and such an important connection to the industry you will work in.”

And Liam’s advice for current and future students: “Don’t limit yourself to the TAFE – also make contact with other agencies and networks in the community. This is your introductory level to greater fields of practice – and a stepping stone to all that you can achieve!”

If you would like to embark on a new journey through study or career options, contact our friendly support team on 1300 698 233 to find out what opportunities are available for you. Alternatively visit our website and browse our courses at


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