Bronwyn goes back to study

After her marriage ended, Bronwyn Wiederstein had to reinvent herself. She took the plunge and went back to study as a mature-aged student.

Courage comes in many forms. Sometimes, it’s the ability to walk your own path and face your fears, one step at a time.

When Bronwyn Wiederstein decided to go back to study as a mature-age student at 53, it took courage.

Her marriage had broken down and she had to go back into the workforce after several years of being at home raising her children.

“I never really knew my purpose or what career path I wanted to take,” she says.

“I was in the travel industry years ago. The thought of picking up the pieces and moving forward was scary, but I had to become independent.”

With the support of her two kids, aged 28 and 30, Bronwyn took three jobs in retail.

When her son’s fiancé mentioned Chisholm was offering early childhood traineeships, Bronwyn decided to apply.

Chisholm lined her up with a childcare centre within 20km of her home and arranged the interview.

At the same time, Bronwyn began Chisholm’s Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.

“As a mature-aged student and not studying for all these years, my IT skills were a challenge,” says Bronwyn.

“Chisholm actually supplied me with a computer. The support has been amazing.”

Bronwyn is now working two days a week at Brighton Beach Early Learning Centre on a Monday and Tuesday in the 2-3 year-old room.

On Wednesdays and Thursdays, she works in retail, then Fridays she studies.

“For me, it’s a big work-study balance at the moment, but I am extremely resilient and I will get through it,” says Bronwyn. “I have lots of support from both of my children.”

For her tenacity, Bronwyn was nominated as Trainee of the Year at the 2023 Chisholm Education Awards.

She is really enjoying studying at Chisholm and is excited about her future.

“I like going to class and interacting – that’s how I learn,” says Bronwyn.

“Working as a trainee, there are still things I don’t know, but I’m one for asking lots of questions.

“Being in the workforce and combining the theory and practical knowledge is amazing.”

Bronwyn encouraged others who were thinking of having a career change or diving back into the workforce after a break to go for it.

“People are hesitant and they think they’re not capable, and that was probably me to begin with,” she says. “I would say, ‘give it a go’.”

Outside of her busy work and study schedule, Bronwyn loves spending time with her children, travelling, keeping fit and meeting friends for coffee dates. At the time of writing this article, she was soon to be a grandmother.

When asked what her greatest achievement was, she says aside from raising two wonderful children, it was going back to school as a mature-aged student.

“Not believing in myself and going ahead and doing this is probably my biggest achievement,” she says.