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From empty nest to full career and study life 

 
North Coast TAFE student MeMadoline Leonard. 
Madeleine Leonard.

When Madeleine Leonard found herself facing the “empty nest syndrome” she decided to retrain at TAFE and give her career a new lease of life.

Now, just three years down the track, Madeleine is settled into a job she loves at All About Conveyancing, in Forster, and is half way through a university qualification in property conveyancing.

At 47, Madeleine faced the same problem as many women her age. With so much time and energy spent raising her three daughters - at the same time running a home-based wholesale nursery with her husband - she felt a complete change was needed once her three girls left home.

So, in 2009, Madeleine enrolled part-time, in the Certificate IV in Business Administration course at Great Lakes TAFE, while phasing down the family business.  As a small business owner, Madeleine had already developed a variety of business administration skills and mainly needed to update her skills in the latest word processing, computerised accounting, payroll, spreadsheets and business management techniques.

She chose to study flexibly, coming to TAFE when she needed to and doing a lot of course work on-line from home.

“The flexibility was great. These two years of study gave me the time and confidence I needed to work out what sort of career I wanted to change to,” said Madeleine. “When I started my TAFE course, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do because I didn’t have much confidence in my academic abilities. I left school at 16. But the further I got into the course, the more I realised that I loved learning, and could aim for higher things.”

Her confidence up, Madeleine decided to enrol this year (2011) in Conveyancing, Law and Practice at Macquarie University. Then she “bit the bullet” and knocked on doors to find herself a conveyancing job in the local area. She had a positive response and recently started three days a week at All About Conveyancing in Wallis, Street, Forster.

“Conveyancing is a specialist field which - because it involves dealing with large sums of money for property transactions - carries a lot of responsibility and needs a lot of attention to detail. But it’s such a nice experience, helping people to buy or sell a house or a business. They are always happy when the settlement happens,” she said.

Asked if she had any advice for other mature-aged job seekers or for job changers, Madeleine said; “Just go for it. Take the first steps and keep doing as much as you can realistically do.”

With all her girls now in uni, Madeleine and her husband  are now looking to the future with great optimism.