As a mother of two beautiful children, Engy describes immigrating to Australia in search of a better life for herself and her family as the best thing that ever happened to her. But it wasn't all smooth sailing. Just months after settling in Ipswich, her home was ravaged by the 2011 floods and they lost everything.
"It was hard, I had no English whatsoever and didn't understanding anything. We went to an evacuation centre and the first word I ever learnt in English was 'evacuate'," said Engy.
"TAFE Queensland changed my life from the beginning. I literally had no English whatsoever and learnt English from scratch at TAFE Queensland," she said.
This prompted Engy to choose TAFE Queensland when it came to studying her Certificate III in Hospitality (SIT30616). Engy hadn't previously worked in the hospitality industry but after COVID-19, she felt she needed a change.
"I currently have my own business doing threading — facial hair removal — but it's been really tough through COVID-19. I know I work with people but it's not the same and I feel like hospitality is more me."
"I chose to study this course because I love people, full stop! I absolutely love people and I love to see the smile on peoples' faces when they're happy with the service. I always go above and beyond to make them happy — that's me," said Engy.
The Certificate III in Hospitality (SIT30616) gives students the chance to learn how to provide five-star service and that's where Engy ultimately wants to end up.
"I really enjoy working in hospitality and I've already been offered a job from my experience with TAFE Queensland. That's a really good thing and I'll start straight away in working my career up and maybe even do my diploma so I have a better chance to achieve my bigger picture of working for five-star hotels," she said.
Between juggling existing family commitments and studying in a different language, completing a qualification hasn't been without its struggles. But Engy credits the support of her teacher for helping her complete her course.
"At the beginning of the course, because English is my second language, I was really intimidated by studying via Zoom because it had been face-to-face when I enrolled," Engy said.
"I contacted Jeff my teacher and I said 'Jeff I can't do this, it's really hard for me and I have to withdraw'. He said 'no' and called me straight away and he said 'stop that, you are great and you can do this'."
"He pushed me to do it and supported me all the way. So honestly it's all thanks to him that I'm through to the end of my course."
"Jeff always has a smile on his face, he has such a positive energy and you just want to be around him so you have that positive energy from him. He's amazing! He's not just a teacher he is an educator," she said.
Due to the effects of COVID-19, students had to move off campus and study online for a term, during which time they worked on their written assessments. When they returned to class it was straight into restaurant service and back on track to completing their course.
"My favourite part about studying was the practical part. You get out there in the real world and you know exactly what to do — you're not practicing still, you're ready to go. It's exactly what we do at TAFE," Engy said.
In addition to the practical experience she's gained, Engy has also developed some much needed confidence —in both her skills, and herself.
"My self esteem was always down, I've never felt like I was good enough. But now my self esteem has been boosted through the sky because of this course!" said Engy.
"My advice on studying with TAFE Queensland is, go for it! TAFE Queensland is the best place ever — you feel like you're home," she said.