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A Change of Country and a Change of Career


Jing Zhang is a full-time mother of two who worked as an accountant in China before migrating to Australia in 2011. Last year, she took advantage of the Free TAFE for Priority Courses program and enrolled in a Certificate IV in Mental Health at Box Hill.

Jing chose to study mental health to have a positive impact on people in need, challenge herself, keep her mind active, stay motivated and work in a different field. She said, “I wanted to get a job that could make a change to people’s lives. 

“I am very interested in how to look after people with mental health issues, the trauma that causes [mental health issues], and how to help people to get better with the skills we learn at Box Hill Institute,” she said.
The course has had the added benefit of teaching Jing to improve her own wellbeing and to have a better work and life balance. She said, “Through this course, I learned about myself. I have learned how to enjoy the life I have right now and to be thankful for how I have warmly connected with friends, the community, study, work and social clubs.”

Jing applied for her first mental health job in August 2019 and was given an interview. She said, “I felt I had been blessed. All the questions were what I have been learning at Box Hill Institute throughout the course.” 

Jing has learned about alcohol and other drugs, wellbeing, cultural diversity, ethics, the law, suicide prevention and family violence. She said, “All the information we learned from class is strongly connected to the real work I have done in the sector. That is really very [reassuring]. What I do is practice what we have been taught in class, just like we did in role-play.”

Box Hill Institute’s student support service, Student Life, has Jing’s gratitude. “I love the services Student Life provided me like Robert, Mel and Kate Walton. I also LOVE the neat and clean canteen underneath the café; enough microwaves, boiling water and chairs with TV and Ping-Pong and toilets. Very convenient and warm. Strong sense of belonging of Box Hill Institute,” she said. 

Jing also speaks highly of her teachers and was impressed by the amount of experience they have in the mental health sector. She said, “Sarah Elbridge is very kind and helpful to me when I had no idea about this sector. She provided lots of evidence from cases she witnessed over the past 23 years, providing me enough information about the sector, about how to keep learning and growing, developing as much as I could to be a good worker. She herself is an icon role model of the mental health worker.

“I love my job and I am very proud of myself and my school for what I can give to the community as a good return on a free government funding program,” said Jing.