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New Educational Initiative of Public Housing Tenants

10 Sep 2007

For Carlton resident Maurice Wilson, his Maori culture embodies great respect and reverence for his Elders.

Now, living in the Carlton Public Housing Estate, Maurice 39, is participating in a new study program in aged care at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT). The program is for unemployed public housing tenants in the northern region of Melbourne to assist them into employment.

As part of a Public Tenants' Employment Program first introduced in November 2004 by the Government's Department of Human Services, Maurice is one of 15 unemployed tenants studying the six-month Certificate III in Aged Care at NMIT.

Maurice, who has a bachelor degree in performing arts from New Zealand, has been in Australia for 18 months where he's worked in casual jobs that didn't last.

He was unemployed for three months before seizing the opportunity offered to him in the Public Tenants' Employment Program.

'In New Zealand, my aunt and uncle were in a nursing home and visiting them sparked an interest in helping elderly people,' Maurice said.

'Traditionally, Maori culture didn't include putting the Elders in a nursing home, but as times have changed, it's not possible now for younger people to look after their elderly parents and relatives at home.

'A nursing home seemed like a good, safe and caring alternative.'

For Maurice, studying aged care is a great opportunity to receive training and obtain a formal qualification that heralds new career horizons.

'I had no real idea what aged care was all about and I had never been in a nursing home in Australia,' Maurice said. 'I didn't realise you had to be skilled in certain procedures but I'm a people person and that's what's needed in aged care. I want to be able to talk to the elderly on their level, help them participate in activities and help them have a quality of life in their home away from home.'

Maurice spends three days a week studying at NMIT's Preston campus alternating with two days a week of work placement in a nursing home.

Victorian Minister for Housing, Richard Wynne, said the Public Tenants' Employment Program was an initiative that aimed to develop opportunities for public housing tenants to get work and training.

'The training is designed to address the tenants' disadvantage and provide them with a formal qualification to enhance their employment opportunities.'

Maurice said it was important to respect the elderly and he wanted to be proactive in his quality of care and provide the elderly with a sense of being and dignity.

The study program started in July and runs until the end of the year.

With NMIT's modern training facilities, students gain practical experience, with their knowledge and skills assessed in a range of different ways including practical demonstrations.

DHS, in conjunction with NMIT, would also be assisting the tenants in their transition from study to employment.


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.