Be doing what you love!

Tahlia Collins, local Taralga resident and TAFE NSW graduate, has humble dreams combined with exceptional talent, receiving the TAFE NSW Illawarra Apprentice of the Year at the recent Annual Student Awards.

Living in a small regional community, Tahlia was home schooled until Year 11 when she combined her HSC studies with a school based apprenticeship in Commercial Cookery at TAFE NSW Goulburn.

Tahlia has used her Certificate III qualification as a spring board and is still continuing her Commercial Cookery studies.

On receiving the Apprentice of the Year award: “I didn’t really believe that I had won at first – it’s a really good feeling to prove that if you put time and effort into something, you can achieve,” says Tahlia.

“When I first started TAFE, I was anxious. My teacher, Lois, took the time and space for me to do the work. She was very supportive.”

Tahlia’s career ambition is to own a bistro/café and have the freedom to tap into her foodie creativity.

“I’d love to be my own boss doing what I love. I’m really lucky that I’ve found something I’m passionate about.”

Tahlia is eager to learn more from her boss and ultimate mentor, Lisa Francis, at the Sports Club in Taralga.

“Generally in a kitchen, it’s very stressful. Lisa can just put stress and adrenalin aside and make it really fun – she has taught me so much. I want to do exactly what Lisa does,” she says.

Although Bev Steeden, Teacher, Hospitality and Event Management taught Tahlia for a small amount of time, Tahlia left a lasting impression on her.

“Tahlia is such a lovely girl and was a fabulous student. I was just so impressed with her maturity for someone so young,” says Ms Steeden.

“She just approached everything with a very professional manner and with 100 per cent integrity. She was so intent on doing the best she could do.”

Be doing what you love, like Tahlia and join us at the TAFE NSW Open Week, 19 to 24 June, to discover your next career move. Visit to find out what activities are happening at a TAFE NSW location near you, or call our team on 131 601.