Seven teenage mums are the first to graduate from a pilot TAFE program at Shellharbour designed to help young parents obtain a year 12 or equivalent level of education.
TAFE Illawarra's Certificate II in Skills for Work and Training is a "transition to study" program which was developed in response to the federal government's Helping Young Parents measure.
Shellharbour is one of 10 trial areas across the country. The government is investing $47 million to assist with childcare, education fees, parenting education courses and training places.
The TAFE course was developed in conjunction with Centrelink and provides a combination of face-to-face, online and self-paced learning approaches that cover a range of topics designed to help parents further their education and eventually re-enter the workforce.
Topics range from resume-writing and job-searching through to stress management, and first aid.
TAFE teacher Kate Toohey said the course not only gave students confidence to further their education, but also a better understanding of parental support services that were available in the community.
Among the graduates yesterday was Flinders mum Sarah Miller who intends to return to TAFE to finish her beauty therapy studies in order to establish her own business.