Enriching her skills to help others
Three years ago, 35-year-old single mother-of-three Melinda Weber made the decision to invest in herself, and her family. After completing three qualifications with TAFE Queensland she's now started a rewarding career in community services.
Starting with a Certificate III in Community Services (CHC32015) in 2018, I then went on to study a Certificate IV in Mental Health (CHC43515) in 2019 and finished off with a Diploma in Counselling (CHC51015) in 2020.
I achieved all of this being a single mother of three — my oldest being sixteen and youngest six — while working shift work in the hospitality industry and going through a pandemic.
I'd been working in hospitality for just over nine years before switching industries mid-way through my diploma, and I'm now currently working for Uniting Care as a residential youth worker.
Seeing the issues in the community, on the news, and on social media, I wanted to have a better understanding. I felt an urge to help but didn’t know how. I chose community services to gain an understanding which opened up and strengthened my passion for mental health.
Mental health and youth work are extremely important. I believe the youth work industry is lacking consistent resources and funding for the young people who are at a disadvantage. I'm hoping to be able to support, advocate and assist with this in the future, hopefully creating my own program to help and bring awareness.
TAFE Queensland was a comfortable choice for me, since I hadn't done any studying since leaving high school in Year 11. It was also more affordable and flexible when it came to my job and raising my children.
I was really impressed with the places that TAFE Queensland offered for vocational placement. The placements were supportive of my studying requirements, prepared me, and gave me an idea around expectations in the industry.
My teachers were a huge support and encouragement during my three courses — truly present in the classroom and with their students. I was impressed with the knowledge and skills my teachers shared. They were my biggest cheerleaders and saw potential when I wasn’t able to. This helped me see my capabilities and what I could achieve.
If you feel compelled or a desire to help, consider what's going on in the world today — then do the study. Studying will refine your skills, you will gain experience through placement opportunities and have an understanding of the industry's expectations.
The greatest gift you can give yourself is knowledge. You'll also find that you'll grow as a person. Expanding your knowledge will lead to personal growth — don't deny yourself that experience and opportunity!
TAFE Queensland is such a supportive and safe learning environment. My experience has been nothing short of amazing and I'm so grateful I was able to achieve what I have.