Hey gal this is me… I’m Liz, 23, I studied Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology and I work as a Community Support Worker. I assist people living with mental illness in transitioning from hospital back into the community. I assist to organise their life and support them to achieve goals. I am part advocate, part personal assistant, part emotional shoulder.
My TAFE course in a nutshell… I studied Cert IV in Mental Health work. We learnt practical counselling and Active Listening Skills, Diverse Background and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural safety (literally best subjects I’ve ever taken with a sassy af male teacher).
Why I applied… I didn’t know what I might be able to learn. I wanted to get any possible extra knowledge and unique perspectives on my desired career.
How I applied… online. It had no prerequisites.
Specific skills you may use and that are valuable… practical experience! If you study psych, you can only get practical at Macquarie and Wollongong unis. My uni offered zero exposure before Masters level, not even in Honours. They also train you on how to conduct a session with your client through role plays and case studies.
Do this course if you like… meeting new different people. TAFE is full of people from all walks of life – it really opens your eyes that uni is a bubble. If you like to learn from people and their stories – people already working in the sector, people changing careers or people who are just there for personal interest then this is for you. The ones I never would have spoken to IRL were the ones I learnt most from and it gave me such perspective and an opportunity for self-reflection.
Do this course also if you aren’t quite ready for uni but think you might be interested in mental health or psychology.
Don’t do this course if you don’t like… studying “part time”. I did my Cert IV along side uni in 2nd sem of last year but in first semester I had TAFE and full time work. If I didn’t have full time work, I would have been bored. The workload is 2 full days in first semester and 2 days study + 2 days work experience in second.
Where do you think this course will take you… Well it already took me somewhere – I got the first job I applied for out of uni in addition to an offer from my work placement at Asylum Seekers Centre. I would never have gotten it with just my degree. What’s next? Finding out how to start up my own NGO or work my way up in an already existing one that aligns with my goals.
Any tips/advice for those thinking about this course…. try it out. TAFE gave me so much more value as an employee. In fact my employer pays the uni grads and Masters students in my team do a cert IV.
Lastly just be prepared for a little chaos in chasing up enrollment or certificates because Ultimo TAFE is overhauling their IT systems at present.