SOUTH Regional TAFE graduate Maria Baker’s “innate curiosity for learning” has seen her short-listed as a finalist for WA Vocational Student of the Year 2017, with the winner to be announced at the Perth Convention and exhibition centre in September.

Although Ms Baker had an impressive resume from her work in Argentina, she struggled to gain employment in Australia when she relocated in 2007.

“I decided to make a change in my life and a change in my career because I wanted to secure a job,” Ms Baker said.

The self described “keen student” who “loves to learn” completed Certificate Four courses in both Community Services and Business Administration in 2016.

“I was inspired and wanted to learn more, so I went back to my first love which is administration,” she said.

“It helped me to regain my confidence because when you haven’t been employed in a long time you start to feel unworthy.”

Ms Baker was “thrilled” to make it this far after the rigorous application process and credited her success to the “second to none” facilities and lecturers at South Regional TAFE.

“Even if I don’t get further, just getting to this stage for me is important,” she said.

South Regional TAFE Managing Director Duncan Anderson said the finalists had “worked hard to achieve fantastic results” and would become role models for other students.