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A Big Gamble Reaps Its Rewards

28 Aug 2007

A career was never a priority for Sky Savle who was married at 16 and had four boys within six years.

Growing up in the country in Queensland, study was not on the agenda, but when Sky moved to Melbourne and then found herself divorced with a need to earn money, cleaning was the only option she could find without any formal qualifications.

For Sky, 41, of Hadfield, cleaning businesses and house-keeping for motels was frustrating employment; and deep inside her, she knew she was able to contribute more to the community and find work that was challenging and offered her a more creative career.

In June 2006, she opted to enrol for part-time study in Certificate II in Business Administration at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) - realising that she needed skills and training to find more stimulating and enjoyable employment.

Now, after completing Certificate III in Business Administration in June this year, Sky has found a job three-days a week with the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council in Brunswick that she first approached to do a two week work placement as part of her NMIT study program.

She is now completing Certificate IV in Business Administration at NMIT and feels she's finally found a career that she never thought of during her married life.

'As a cleaner for years, I was treated as a second-class citizen and people were very rude to me, but I always knew that there had to be something more to life and that I had talent and more to give to the community,' Sky said.

'I became a mum so early - that was the way it was growing up in the country - I never had the chance to get onto any career path as it was a different mindset where I grew up in The Redlands. A career just wasn't a priority.'

Initially fearful of the computer technology she would have to learn at NMIT -'I had computer phobia and didn't even want to turn it on in class' - Sky overcame her anxieties and lack of confidence and mastered the IT skills she needed.

'Studying again was a big change in my life. I was moving into a different era and it was quite exciting. I just kept pushing myself to attend classes and to keep on going.

'Sometimes I would wonder what am I doing and would I ever get a job. As an older student, I also thought maybe it was a waste of time, but my teachers were very supportive and when I completed my Certificate III with high distinctions, it felt amazing.'

Moreover, when she ventured into her work placement, she was able to immediately apply all the skills she had learned at NMIT.

'I did book-keeping using my computer skills, customer service, fed information into a data base, typed letters and answered phones and just ran the business administration side of the Council's offices. I really enjoyed it.'

Not only did Sky welcome her new opportunity, but staff were so impressed, she was offered a job there, initially for 12 months.

She also enrolled for further study at NMIT as she wants to learn even more and develop a good career for herself in business administration.

'I've raised four fantastic boys and I've learned to transfer the skills I had running a home and being a mother into the workplace,' Sky said. 'For many years, I couldn't see how I would get out of cleaning. I just couldn't imagine it, but I'm so extremely happy and fulfilled and it's certainly raised my sense of self-worth and my belief in myself.'

She added it had been 'a gamble to return to study but it's paid off and now I have a different life where I'm learning to be in control of my own destiny.'


Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.