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This young Aussie’s media career hasn’t been textbook, and that’s why it’s working

“Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one” – that’s a classic Pocahontas quote. Mitchell Coombs is arguably definitely the most famous millennial who hails from the tiny town of Bogan Gate in Australia. He’s carving out a career in media for himself, but it hasn’t been a simple journey.

Mitchell first dipped his toes in the world of media when studying a Diploma of Screen and Media (Radio Broadcasting) at TAFE NSW.

He is now studying a Bachelor of Arts Media at Macquarie University and working part-time at Amplify – a youth orientated video company. Since graduating from his TAFE course, he has had work experience at Smooth FM, 2GB, the ARIAs and 2PK/Rok FM in Parkes. He is grateful to TAFE NSW for all they have done to help him embark on such an exciting career path.

Among the many aspects he loved about his media course was the “judgement-free zone” which allowed for open collaboration and creativity.

Watching Coombs’ videos, it would be easy to assume that he was born to be a media personality – it just comes so naturally.

But, as Coombs divulged, a lot of background work went into that confidence, “Aside from the actual skills I’ve acquired, I walked away from TAFE instilled with way more confidence in my ability than I’ve ever had.”

“I was ultra-shy when I started the course, but the teachers’ unwavering support and encouragement throughout the year made it so much easier to come out of my shell. You don’t get that at university.”

Just like any budding radio producer, there are standout inspirations for Coombs, people who excel at what they do every single day. These inspirations sing his praises on his site, describing him as a “diamond in the rough”, and a “bright, intuitive, self-starter”.

Coombs praises his teachers for motivating him: “They gave me the push I didn’t know I needed”.

He is striving for big long-term goals. He’s across social media, but is backing it up with his work in video and radio.

“Despite having done a media course majoring in Radio at TAFE, I’ve focused very heavily on digital media this year. I produce my own social video content for YouTube, as well as working for a youth-skewed social media company, This Is Amplify.”

“As much as I love social media, I’m really keen to get back into what I love – radio. I’m hoping to combine the two and work as a digital producer for a commercial hit radio network.”

So, would he recommend the same path to others?

“I 100 per cent recommend TAFE as a stepping stone for anyone who’s unsure of what they want to do, or whether they’re good enough to do it. Too often university is viewed as the be-all and end-all when it comes to getting a job.

But really, for media in particular, how useful will academics really be when you’re in the field? It’s the practical skills that will really carry you, and TAFE make sure you’re equipped with not just any skills, but the relevant skills for the media landscape in this day and age.”

And his final nugget of wisdom?

“I can’t say I’ve figured out a ‘key’ to being successful in media. But from what I’ve gathered, don’t underestimate the value of networking & work experience.”

“The old saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is especially true in media. Get your face out there, make sure the right people know your name. Then when a job vacancy opens up, they’ll think ‘Hey, I know someone who’d be perfect for this.'”

If you want to achieve YOUR dreams in 2017, check out our friends at TAFE NSW – the best option for those looking for alternatives to university or to upgrade your existing skill-set. TAFE can help you be whatever you want to be, regardless of how ambitious that dream is.