Domestic violence survivor regaining confidence through education


Kylie Wholohan is equipping herself to enter the workforce after escaping from domestic violence.
Kylie Wholohan is equipping herself to enter the workforce after escaping from domestic violence.

KYLIE Wholohan’s bid to reclaim her life after years of domestic violence brought her to Bull Creek last week as part of a practical work experience project for TAFE.

The 38-year-old mother of two is studying a Certificate I in AgriFood Operations and attended John Creaney Park to plant trees alongside her classmates.

Ms Wholohan enrolled in the course after seeking refuge following a domestic violence situation.

After leaving school in Year 10 and marrying her husband at the age of 17, Ms Wholohan spent the last 20-years as a stay-at-home mum and carer.

“I’ve been stuck inside the house all these years and I’d lost a lot of skills and confidence,” she said.

“My garden with my chickens was the only thing that kept me sane all of those years – I grew everything and it was my therapy and medicine.”

Once Ms Wholohan was free from her troubled life, she decided to use her passion for agriculture to learn new skills, meet new people and improve her employment prospects.

“Having been out of school for more than 20 years, I was very nervous about attending TAFE but once I got to know the group and we all shared our life stories, I realised how amazing the course was and I haven’t missed a day of TAFE since starting,” she said.

“I had never even caught the train before coming to TAFE. Now I have skills and confidence that will help me get a job doing something I love. I’m strong, independent and I’m getting my life back.”

North Metropolitan TAFE general education lecturer Paul Clarke said the tree planting initiative provided students with a real-life project that taught them skills in communication, professionalism and time management.

“Many of these students have come from challenging backgrounds so this project has given them the skills, motivation and confidence required to improve their lives,” he said.

“Students have had to manage this project from start to finish – communicating with the City of Melville representative about supplies required, learning about the trees they are asked to plant and planning all aspects of the planting day.”

Students have also spent two days per week restoring the over-grown gardens of vacated houses for Uniting Care West, preparing them for families in desperate need of a home.