Cathie’s gift of knowledge


As a 50th birthday present, single mum Cathie Renfrew decided to give herself the gift of knowledge.

So, she enrolled in a Certificate IV in Marketing and Communication at TAFE NSW Newcastle.

“My 50th birthday present was to give myself 12 months to work out what I wanted to do when I grew up,” she says.

“[This] included studying full-time at TAFE NSW, and then I got the call that has literally changed my life.”

Just one day after her 51st birthday, Cathie secured her first full-time job in 25 years.

She now works as a senior project officer in the secondary education sector in Sydney.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), more than one million Australians change jobs every year, while about half of those move to a different industry or career.

Over 90% of new jobs up to 2023 are predicted to need a higher skillset than previously required.

The jobs expected to grow the most in the next half-decade include aged and disabled carers, registered nurses, child carers, software and applications programmers, waiters, and education aides.

Cathie is well aware of the benefits of topping up your occupational expertise.

“It’s never too late to give yourself opportunities to go in a different direction,” she says.

“My time at TAFE NSW enabled me to enhance existing industry skills and knowledge, and gain confidence, which you can tend to lose as you get older.”

She adds her children are proud of her new qualifications, as well as an award she won during her studies and, of course, her new senior role.

“My kids are really pleased and proud of me, which makes me a bit teary,” she says.
“When I decided to study, they said ‘great’, because I was finally doing something for myself after working various part-time roles to fit in around them because that’s what you do as a mother.

“They know I’ve always valued education and they could see how much passion and enthusiasm I had for my studies.”

The Certificate IV in Marketing and Communications can be studied face-to-face in Newcastle or Sydney, or online via TAFE Digital. Visit for more detail on other courses.

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