Sam Matthews had a fulfilling career which saw him travel the world, providing him in his words; 'happy days'. And then came COVID-19. Thankfully Sam's sister knew what to do.

Sam had one of the most exciting lifestyles; for the last fifteen years he had worked and travelled extensively from Canada to Colombia and everything in between. His career in hospitality was very exciting and generous to him, and following a three-year stint managing a bar in Edinburgh, Sam had returned to Cairns in line with his VISA expiring and was happily working in two hospitality roles.

“It all happened very quickly with COVID-19 and hospitality. I was employed as a bartender and as a waiter at another venue, but this only lasted 3 months (as COVID-19 kicked in),” Sam explained.

“I had also just moved; I was renting a room from a lady who owned a flat. I was there for 2 weeks and then COVID-19 happened and she asked me to move out so her partner could move in. I am very lucky though that I have both of my parents in Cairns, so I was able to use them as a safety net and stay with them.”

Also fortunate for Sam, his sister Marnie worked for TAFE Queensland and she encouraged him to reskill and consider the Community Care Skill Set (SSCHC0004), given his penchant for people and client service.

“My first reaction was “You don’t tell me what to do, sis!” – but that was short-lived. The more I read about it, the more it seemed like a really good thing to do,” said Sam.

As such, Sam enrolled in and completed the skill set, and now has a position as a Lifestyle Support Worker for Selectability, which sees him working with people with mental health issues and disabilities, helping them with setting and achieving personal goals.

“I still work in hospitality, but the support work became my main career focus and it’s very exciting. I’d encourage everyone to try and study something. Even if it’s something so far from what you're used to, or to what you’ve done before. Give it a go. You'll go through some ups and downs, but 100 per cent the ups outweigh the downs. DO IT!”


If COVID-19 has prompted you to reconsider your career path, TAFE Queensland can help.

Learn more


Images by Nicolette Worth.

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