Student of the Year Pinar Teker uses Free TAFE to follow her passion for community service 

Pinar's Inspiring Journey

Pinar came to Australia in 2008 and soon after became a single parent to two children. She started volunteering and studying Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015) at Bendigo TAFE to follow her passion for community work. Pinar was awarded the 2022 Student of the Year. Pinar was eligible for Free TAFE* for her studies, which helped to cover tuition costs for her studies.

An advocate for multicultural services, Pinar Teker’s personal experience as a mature-age migrant to Australia and survivor of domestic violence led her onto the path of community services. 

“It took me quite a long time to get back on my feet and along the way I met quite a few people who shared the same challenges,” she said.

“When you look at our experiences, there seems to have been a lack of communication and connection with the community, as well as misunderstandings. I would like to be a part of a path that reduces these barriers, so that we have happy and productive people in our community.”

Pinar was able to access Free TAFE for her Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015) course: "If it wasn't for Free TAFE, I wouldn't have the opportunity to study. It is financially almost impossible for people like myself, who are socio economically disadvantaged, to afford the cost of studying."

About her time at Bendigo TAFE studying the Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015), Pinar said, “When I studied at Bendigo TAFE, it was more about what I really enjoyed doing and out of my life experiences, what I really wanted to do in terms of my passion. Bendigo TAFE having quite a lot of connections in this field, enabled me to follow that path. It was fantastic to do what I wanted rather than what was expected of me.” 


"If it wasn't for Free TAFE, I wouldn't have the opportunity to study", says Pinar, who was awarded the Student of the Year at Bendigo TAFE's 2022 Annual Industry Awards.

Family was a key motivator throughout Pinar’s diploma studies, with supportive classmates also an important part of her journey.  

“As a single mother of two dependent children, working part-time and studying was not so easy, yet my children have always been my reason to get up every morning,” she said.

“I do not see myself as a special person in any way. Most of my classmates had equally challenging times. We always supported each other when needed.” 

Armed with new skills and qualifications, Pinar is currently employed as a Redress Advocate with Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, working to reduce barriers to service accessibility experienced by people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

“I started working as a Job Mentor and supported people from CALD communities to gain employment. Now, I work as a Redress Advocate and I would like to carry that approach and do my best for people who apply to the Redress Scheme,” she said.

“When I first decided to study community services, all I had in my mind was to help people, particularly migrant women.

“I am able to help people now. I am able to apply my life experience in a positive and productive way. I am happy now and I hope I can make others happy.”


*Free TAFE on selected courses only. Eligibility criteria may apply. Other fees and charges may apply. Find out more at