At her old job, Sandy Liang felt she had hit the ceiling.
The former kitchen hand moved to Tasmania from Taiwan in 2010, on a gap year.
However, she found her true calling in the tourism industry, thanks to a tourism course at TasTAFE.
Mrs Liang shared her story as part of The Examiner’s Pick up the Tools campaign.
“I think if I hadn’t done the course I would probably still be working in that kitchen,” she said. “I felt that I had already hit the ceiling and couldn’t do any more than what I was already doing.”
While she was planning her wedding, Mrs Liang also began to plan a tour of Tasmania for the 28-strong group of her family members who were making the trip to Tasmania for the wedding.
“I found that I enjoyed planning the trip more than planning the wedding,” she laughed.
It was then Mrs Liang had the lightbulb moment that the tourism industry was waiting for her. She said she didn’t know much about the education system in Tasmania when she first began looking.
I think being able to tell the story is at the heart of the tourism industry...TasTAFE tourism graduate Sandy Liang
However, she saw a Facebook post advertising an information day at TasTAFE.
After graduating last year, she said the course had given her much more confidence. She now has two jobs, working in the ticket booth at Penny Royal Adventures and in the cellar door at Josef Chromy Vineyard at Relbia.
“It has really given me a lot more confidence and I have to give credit to my mentor, our teacher.”
The tourism course really paid off for Mrs Liang recently, when she was invited to help translate for a visiting travel agent from China.
“Part of the course was learning all about Tasmanian produce and history, so when we went out to dinner I was able to tell them all the stories about where some of the products came from. I think being able to tell the story is at the heart of the tourism industry.”
Mrs Liang said she could credit the TasTAFE course for allowing her to follow her dreams and continue living in Tasmania with her husband. It has also allowed her to become more connected with her community.
“When I first moved here, I didn’t know many people and I didn’t have a wide circle of friends. But when I did the course, I met more people.”