Young female vet holding a puppy's face.

Career progression plan: How upskilling helped Helena

What’s your next career move? Do you want to set up a robust career progression plan? Are you thinking it’s time to upskill? You’ve worked to build knowledge and hone skills in your industry. And you know that time has given you a solid foundation. But here’s the sixty-four million dollar question: how do you go about futureproofing your career?

Charles Sturt University student Helena Davies may just have the answer.

Helena has cared for nature’s creatures – great and small – for more than 16 years. She got her first job in the industry after starting a Certificate III in Veterinary Nursing at TAFE. The Certificate IV was next on her list. That qualification propelled her into a dream job as a veterinary nurse with a Sydney veterinary orthopaedic and neurological specialist. After 10 years Helena moved to her current role at a mixed practice.

Skills for the future

Though her career progression plan was moving along nicely, Helena was always looking ahead. That’s what lead her to make a big decision a few years back. She decided to upskill to secure her future by strengthening the skills and knowledge she had already developed. So, Helena enrolled to study Charles Sturt’s Bachelor of Veterinary Technology.

“I chose to return to study because the veterinary nursing industry is rapidly evolving and improving. And I still have the same passion for animal health and care after all these years. So, I want to remain the best veterinary nurse I can possibly be.

“I’m a forward planner and don’t want to find myself in a position where my certificates and experience aren’t enough for future employment.”

Credit where study credit is due!

Returning to study was a little different to her TAFE days. This time round Helena was studying part-time, online and raising a young family.

“I had concerns being a mature-age student returning to study after so many years. But, I found my years of experience and qualifications provided a solid foundation.

My TAFE qualifications provided me subject credits with Charles Sturt. That’s how I managed to condense a six-year, part-time online degree into four years.”

Balancing study, work and raising a young family still had its challenges, but Helena had a very supportive family and workplace – and one super important skill.

“Being a working mother made me a master in time management!

“And fortunately for me, my workplace has been very supportive of my career path planning. My industry employment covered my work placement requirements during COVID-19.”

Getting industry-ready

The subjects offered throughout Helena’s degree were highly relevant to the industry, as well as being enjoyable.

“I love that the subjects offered in this degree are industry-relevant. They immediately improved my knowledge and skills in the workplace.

“This degree provides a variety of electives tailored to personal interests. Including general small animals, horses and other large animals, and office management. It also provides greater and more diverse employment opportunities compared to the TAFE certificates alone.”

Putting theory into practice during intensive schools was another highlight for Helena.

“The practical sessions during intensive school were an amazing experience. They are very much ‘hands-on’. From anatomy and physiology to reproduction, microbiology to veterinary nursing diagnostics and emergency and critical care.”

Career progression plan? Time to upskill!

If you’re thinking about career path planning and skill development, or upskilling, like Helena, there’s no time like the present.

“My advice for anyone considering this degree, especially previous and current TAFE students, is to take the leap and do it.

“It is hard work but thoroughly enjoyable, and I believe it will solidify future employment in a rapidly evolving industry. And through this experience I’ve also met many other mature-age students reinventing and improving their qualifications and careers!

“My passion is still veterinary nursing and I plan to keep nursing at my current practice for many years to come. But this degree has expanded my knowledge, exposed me to a variety of new opportunities, and reinforced my love for animal health and care.”

Start upskilling for your career progression plan now

Upskilling doesn’t have to mean a large investment of time or money. You could secure a graduate certificate in just six months of study. Go on, get started now with your career progression plan – and futureproof your career.