Lismore City News
Saturday, 2 December 2023

Elly Waite did a course at SAE in Byron Bay which helped transition her career

Updated July 20 2022 - 11:20am, first published 9:33am

The great career migration everyone was predicting post COVID-19 lockdown appears to be coming to fruition.

Byron Bay's Elly Waite is a perfect example of a professional switching careers midstream. Picture: Supplied
Byron Bay's Elly Waite is a perfect example of a professional switching careers midstream. Picture: Supplied

Those signs you see in every second shop window saying 'staff wanted' show there are jobs aplenty and workers can afford to be fussy.

Job mobility has never been easier and loyalty to an employer is no longer a given.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics during the year ending February 2022, 1.3 million people, or 9.5% of employed people changed jobs, the highest annual job mobility rate since 2012.

The shared of job mobility remained highest for professionals, at 22% of those who changed jobs.

During this period 2.1 million people left or lost their job.

The annual retrenchment rate was 1.5%, which was the lowest annual rate on record since 1972.

Byron Bay's Elly Waite is a perfect example of a professional switching careers midstream.

Following stints as a travel consultant and leasing agent, Elly wanted more from her career.

After weighing up her options, she pursued her passion for design by studying at SAE Creative Media Institute. Three years later, Elly's living her dream as a graphic designer at strategic communications advisory organisation, Colony; giving advice as a guest lecturer to SAE's future creatives; and selling her children's book, Byron the Dolphin to Hollywood actors.

Having left school in 2010, Elly took some time out deciding what she wanted to do with her career.

"I spent some time in the travel and real estate industries for a few years, and soon realised that wasn't where my passions lay. By the time I started studying for my Bachelor of Design at SAE in 2017, I was 25, and I had a very clear idea of what I wanted my career," she said.

"Design is something I'm extremely passionate about, so I found it really easy to focus on my studies. I think studying in a small cohort, I didn't feel like just another number."

After graduating SAE Byron Bay in 2019, Elly picked up a contract role as a graphic designer at the Uniting Church in Brisbane, before securing a position at strategic communications advisory organisation, Colony.

"It's a really satisfying environment to work in because every day is varied, whether that's designing marketing material or packaging."

One of the positive aspects of studying at SAE was the long-lasting connections Elly built, and has since been invited back as a guest lecturer.

"I really enjoy talking to students. Maybe I can spark some inspiration for them, and give them the confidence to do freelance projects for themselves, particularly if they're not creatively satisfied in other areas of their lives. That will ultimately be what helps them grow and learn," she said.

During Elly's degree she developed children's book, Byron the Dolphin, which she has successfully sold commercially, including to one Hollywood actress.

"I've sold a number of copies through my Etsy store, including one to actress, Rose Byrne, for her kids."

Reflecting on the start of her career, Elly said that period was key to where she is today: "I took the opportunity to work for a church as my chance to get into the industry. The advice I'd give anyone is just embrace whatever comes your way, because you don't know where it will take you."