Top honours for Kyneton student

Inspirational Student of the Year winner Elliot Foster with Bendigo TAFE chief executive Sally Curtain (supplied).

A Kyneton student has been awarded one of Bendigo TAFE’s top honours at its industry excellence awards held in late February.

Elliot Foster commenced his journey with TAFE and explored his passion caring for animals after struggling to continue education in mainstream school.

He was recognised as the Inspirational Student of the Year at the industry awards, and he has been nominated for a 7 News Vic Young Achiever Award.

As a neuro-diverse learner, Elliot began a certificate II in animal care and advanced to the certificate III in animal care services where he quickly progressed with some customised support in place.

Speaking about his journey with TAFE, Elliot said they organised to do a kind of split course.

“My mum would always drive me and stay in the car park, and I would always go and sit with her for lunch,” he said.

“It was not easy to integrate myself but then eventually I did start to break out of my shell a bit and I was able to catch public transport on my own.

“I’ve always loved animals since I was young, the way that they behave, the way that they can understand us and the connection we can have with them.

“That’s why I chose to come here and do animal studies at Bendigo TAFE and throughout the year, I knew that I could start taking the next step.

“I kind of wanted to do something that helps other people through animals, they’ve helped me with my anxiety and keep me very grounded and centred and give me a lot more confidence as well.”

Elliot currently works with a mobile animal farm based in Kyneton, assisting with caring for animals and setting up for various events across Victoria.