From failing to fabulous: Gold Coast teen designs a Sunni future - TAFE Queensland Gold Coast

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From failing to fabulous: Gold Coast teen designs a Sunni future

From failing school at the age of 15, to becoming a fashion designer and online entrepreneur, it is easy to see that 16-year-old Sunni Rowe has come a long way in a year.

Sunni, from Southport, said she found herself failing school and leaving home at 15 without any prospects for her future.

Now, the days of being caught in the wrong crowd and not caring about herself and her future are long gone thanks to the Australian Government Department of Education and Training-funded Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) at TAFE Queensland.

"Before going to TAFE to earn my Year 10 equivalency, I was in a bad place. I was with the wrong crowd and getting up to mischief - I'd had a huge fight with mum and moved out of home. Nothing was going right and I gave up caring about everything."

"Leanne, my SEE teacher, has been like my second mum - I've shared so much with her - without her I don't know where I'd be," Sunni said.

Completing SEE at TAFE Queensland Gold Coast was a life changing decision for Sunni.

"I made so many friends when I went to TAFE, and it was so great that for the first time, I didn't feel judged or controlled. Nobody cares what you look like or what your past is in the SEE program - they just care that you pass and will do whatever they can to help you get there," Sunni added.

Her teacher Leanne Hanson, said Sunni had made some bad choices in her life, but once she settled in to the SEE classroom her potential shone through.

"One of the great outcomes from this program is seeing students grow in confidence and achieve more than they'd ever thought possible. Being a part of Sunni's transition has been so rewarding - her future is sunny!" she said.

Sunni's journey has only just started, having found the confidence to go back to school to complete her senior years.

She's also a budding business woman, starting out with re-selling clothing online while in the SEE program, and now turning her focus to swimwear design.

"I'm saving hard to help get my business off the ground - until then though, I know I'll have plenty of customers with friends and my school community.

"I can't believe that I love coming to school now - I'm ready to make a mark on this world," she said.

TAFE English Language and Literacy Services Executive Director, Helen Murphy, said that, "through the SEE program, TAFE helps Queenslanders who are struggling with a range of challenges, including basic numeracy and literacy, to build their skills and confidence, provide real work experience and make them work-ready."

She said the SEE program is free for 800 hours for eligible participants who are referred by Centrelink, Jobactives or Disability Employment Services providers.

"Sunni is one of our many proud success stories and we are delighted that she has been able to turn her life around and find a new, and very bright, future," Ms Murphy said.

For more information about SEE visit www.tafeqld.edu.au/tells.

Further information:

About the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE)

SEE offers up to 800 hours of FREE training to help participants secure a job or participate in further training. SEE provides language, literacy and numeracy training in a contextualised learning environment for eligible job seekers aged 15-64. For more information on SEE, visit www.education.gov.au/skills-education-and-employment.