Scott Forrest spent four years at Melbourne Polytechnic studying a long list of courses. He loved it so much that he now teaches at the Preston campus, while studying yet another course in the Community Health sector. His gratitude and energy for Melbourne Polytechnic is equalled only by his passion to give back to the community any way he can.
“These courses helped me to learn about myself, to develop self awareness, learn how to self regulate, create positive boundaries, communicate with others and be around other people a lot more.”
Past student of the Diploma of Alcohol and Drugs, Certificate IV in Mental Health and the Diploma in Community Welfare, Advanced Diploma in Community Sector Management
Scott Forrest credits Melbourne Polytechnic with putting him on the right career path and providing him with a host of friendships and contacts during the past six years.
Scott first enrolled at Melbourne Polytechnic when his workplace, the Salvation Army Detox Drug and Alcohol Centre in Abbotsford, offered him a pathway into study.
While he was studying the Diploma of Alcohol and other Drugs, Scott realised he could link this into a Certificate IV in Mental Health. Once these courses ended, he was offered a place in a new course, the Diploma in Community Welfare.
Scott is now enrolled in an Advanced Diploma in Community Sector Management.
He teaches at Melbourne Polytechnic and works with the Salvation Army as a Drug and Alcohol Mental Health Therapist. He also runs his own consulting business called Caring For Self, which offers workshops in anxiety and anger management to different organisations.
Prior to studying, Scott was in the army as a combat engineer and infantry soldier.
Not surprisingly perhaps, Scott lists self-awareness, a sense of balance, emotional intelligence and the ability to self-care as vital attributes to have in his line of work.
“If you’re not in a good place yourself, then you’re not in a position to help others. I wanted to work with people, help my community and make a difference. I knew that I had a lot of discipline and thought this might help assist people too.”
Scott regards his teaching role at Melbourne Polytechnic as precious – especially after all that he’s gained and experienced through his own studies.
“I teach here because of what I’ve received. I love the quality of the work and the opportunities that come with that. And it’s very down-to-earth teaching.”
He recalls experiencing challenges often shared by students in how to manage work, life and study workloads while developing time management skills.
“The work is designed to be done progressively; that’s the advice I give my students. It’s not designed to be crammed and if you stick to that, you’re going to learn a lot more. The more you learn the more you can put into practice.”
A personal highlight from Scott’s time as a student at Melbourne Polytechnic stems from the friends and contacts he made through his courses, and now in his teaching role.
“I’m still friends with people I went to school with four years ago and I often contact them in my current job. The number of people I’ve met through study who have offered me work or been in the same field has been a huge asset to my career.”
He recalls how passionate his own teachers were and how much he appreciated the flexibility shown to students when juggling home and work pressures. His advice to current students is to persevere, particularly through the first stages of study.
“I tell my students that if you finish this first course, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that open up from that.”
Scott hopes to manage his own well-being centre one day.
“That’s the beautiful thing about working in this field and talking to people every day who are suffering with human elements – it just makes you see things differently.”
Teacher in Health And Community Studies