Ruby Bending-Norman (BSSC student from 2019-2020) thought she had no chance of ever studying at university after opting to study VCAL rather than VCE in her senior secondary years.

However, Ruby’s dedication and commitment as a student at Federation TAFE, has shown that forging the career of your dreams is always possible.

“I found out there are a lot of pathways to higher education and TAFE is really undersold as an option. There needs to be more of an awareness in high schools about alternative ways to get into further study.”

Ruby is a Yorta Yorta woman who studied a Certificate III in Business traineeship at Federation and was motivated to progress her career quickly.

She worked hard to finish the two-year traineeship a year early and is now well on the path to further post-secondary education with plans to become a paramedic.

Ruby’s efforts were celebrated at the 2024 Federation TAFE Awards for Excellence with the Federation TAFE Growth Award.

This award recognises students from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander First Nation Peoples who have demonstrated commitment to their personal and academic growth.

After completing her traineeship, Ruby has also transitioned from student to staff member, starting a job in Federation University’s Student Equity and Inclusion Department—and she’s become an inspiration for others. Congratulations Ruby!

“I just want to make a difference. I’m in a unique position … I have worked across both the TAFE and higher education sectors of the university and, being Indigenous, I have a lot of experience that could help current students. I want to use what I’ve learned and pay it forward and make change for the better,” she said.