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The Importance of Learning

03 Jul 2007

When West Preston student Tania Santamaria was ready to make a career choice for her future during her Year 11 studies at secondary school, her comfortable life was cruelly interrupted beyond her control.

Just before completing Year 11, she was diagnosed with a large ovarian cyst - the size of a cantaloupe - causing her severe pain and resulting in an operation.

But that was only the beginning; the cyst grew back and it took over two years and five operations to enable Tania to regain her good health and well-being.

She missed out on Year 12, but was determined to dictate her own destiny by enrolling at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) in Business Administration in July 2006.

Now the 20-year-old, a second-year student in the Diploma of Business Administration, is an ambassador for NMIT and will impart her experience at NMIT to prospective students during Taste TAFE Week at NMIT between 6-10 August.

Year 10, 11 and 12 secondary school students from across Victoria have the opportunity to engage in hands-on experience in their course of interest in a specific, three-hour taster session that will provide real insights into vocational training at NMIT. Several ambassadors from a variety of courses will wax lyrical about their studies at NMIT and answer questions from prospective students. Early school leavers and mature-age adults seeking retraining or a career change will be accommodated in the early evening at the various NMIT campuses' libraries.

For Tania, making the decision to continue studying despite her temporary setbacks with ill-health was based on a strong commitment to learning and a belief that education was the key to a successful future.

'I needed to study and realised that if I didn't do it, no one was going to do it for me,' Tania said. 'I love to have fun and be out there, but I know when to stop, put my head down and study because I need and want a good career.'

Being economically independent is as important for me as any male, Tania stressed, - 'I want to be able to support myself so I can achieve my goals.

'I was sick for so long, but I got my chance back. It showed me I need to study to give me a sense of control over my own life and be what I want to be and not live behind someone.'

Tania added that to educate her brain was one of the best things she could do in life. And likewise, for others.

'You're here once; here to learn and you need to take advantage of it and not throw away your opportunities.'

Whether you're young, mature-aged or elderly, you can learn and succeed; it's never too late, Tania said.

With a positive spirit and attitude to life, Tania will urge others to seize the opportunity to study and learn as she has done.

'There's a great variety of courses at NMIT and it's a great environment where the teachers are more like friends I can learn from. Everything I do at NMIT gives me inspiration to succeed in life and that's what I want other prospective students to appreciate.'

All schools and the general public need to book for Taste TAFE Week at NMIT via the NMIT website: . Further inquiries Andrea Read: Tel: (03) 9269-1580


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.