After taking three years out of the workforce to move to the Sunshine Coast and raise her three young children, Misha Prior found herself with the daunting prospect of having to start her career all over again. Having worked in business administration since completing a school-based traineeship with the Brisbane City Council, Misha worked hard to climb the corporate ladder and wasn’t keen to settle for just any entry-level job.
“As a young women returning to the workforce after having a family, it was difficult to find meaningful employment that was flexible enough, enjoyable enough, and economical enough once child care costs were considered,” Misha said.
Realising she needed to update her skills to make herself more appealing as an employee, Misha enrolled in a Diploma of Business at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus. While adding study to her to-do list was difficult, she rediscovered her love of both learning and business development.
“As much as I love my munchkins, being a full-time mum is the hardest job of all and I needed a day off. And TAFE, for me, was my ‘day off’ – it gave me much-needed brain stimulation and provided opportunities for adult conversation,” Misha said.
“I knew it was going to be a struggle juggling three kids, a husband and full-time study — while trying to maintain something that resembles an actual life — which is the reason I opted to enrol in face-to-face study.
“I was absolutely astounded by the level of support the teachers gave their students — so much so, the online course didn’t seem like a crazy idea anymore. In fact, I enjoyed the course so much, I enrolled in the online delivery of the Diploma of Leadership and Management before we’d even graduated.
“We made learning really fun at home and the kids just came along for the ride. They had their cardboard ‘laptops’ and we had study parties.”
It was during her studies that Misha discovered a flair for project management, thriving under the pressure of a practical assessment presented to the class by local community group, Nambour Alliance. Tasked with developing the framework for a new event the group was proposing, Misha and her classmates worked out the logistics of bringing it to life by applying the knowledge they’d learned in class to a real life project.
The NamJam Busking competition is a music festival designed to shine a light on local musical talent and put Nambour on the map and in 2017, under Misha’s watchful eye, it did just that.
“I obtained the Project Manager role for NamJam as a direct result of studying with TAFE Queensland,” Misha said.
“It wasn’t really my intention to start a career in the music industry, but the opportunities that came from studying with TAFE Queensland were just too good not to run with.”
While Misha said she has always had a passion for music and the creative industries, her involvement in NamJam ignited a desire to bring entertainment to the community and help elevate local emerging artists into the spotlight. Inspired by the opportunities she was receiving to coordinate the entertainment for a number of events on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane, Misha decided to take advantage of the professional relationships she’d developed and officially launch her own music management business Mute Music Management.
Now in addition to managing NamJam, Misha looks after the bookings and logistics for music acts on the rise, with local band and past NamJam winners Euphoria Under Fire among those on her roster.
“It has been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest, but it’s an awesome industry to work in, with a heap of amazingly creative and supportive people to engage with,” Misha said.
“I really enjoy working with such amazing and talented musicians, and it’s great to be able to give them opportunities to reach new audiences and develop as a professional.
“I am really proud of the work Mute Music Management does with emerging artists, particularly Euphoria Under Fire. We have been super busy preparing for the biggest year we have ever had, with the launch of their EP and tour, and I can’t wait to be a part of introducing them to the world.”
Having graduated from her second diploma at the end of 2017, Misha is continuing to push herself by undertaking a Bachelor of Business Management. But she remains grateful to TAFE Queensland for helping her relaunch her career and is now determined to return the favour, allowing Diploma of Business students to gain valuable experience by assisting in the planning and operation of NamJam each year.
“I think real life project experience is super valuable, especially in courses where you don’t typically get to have a lot of practical experience,” Misha said.
“The opportunities that came from my time with TAFE Queensland were invaluable, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t apply myself 100 per cent,” she said.
“I listened, I questioned, I networked and I ensured I came out the other end with some really quality learnings and a thorough understanding of the content. Then I applied all the assignment pieces I could to a business plan of my own, ready to launch my idea on completion, and I’ve carried this plan to my current venture with Mute Music Management.”
With selected qualifications in business subsidised under the TAFE Priority Training Progam, now's the time to take control of your career like Misha, and embrace your ambition. Visit tafeqld.edu.au for a full list of subsidised courses or call 1300 308 233 to find out more about courses in business, and see where TAFE can take you.