Work & study
The Gold Coast helped make Jade Mellor’s Disney dreams come true
Jess Bowen | August 5, 2022
31-year-old Jade Mellor has an unrivalled zest for life and has jumped at every opportunity the Gold Coast has offered her.
Originally from the West Midlands in England, Jade decided to pursue her dream to live and work on the Gold Coast after she fell in love with the city while visiting on holiday in 2013.
“The first time I visited Australia, I did a road trip from Cairns down to Sydney where we stopped over on the Gold Coast,” Jade said.
“The Gold Coast instantly captured my heart – it had the excitement of city living, the beautiful beaches, and so much nature to explore in the hinterland areas. I knew there were more memories to be made.”
Jade didn’t spend much time on the Gold Coast during her first visit, but she knew she would be back.
A few years later, Jade was in the midst of a breakup when she made a decision to shake things up and join her best friend on a working holiday in Australia.
“I’ve always said that I want to do what I can while I can, so it was quite typical of me to decide to go back to Australia while on a night out with friends!”
“I chose to base myself on the Gold Coast for my working holiday and got a job at Vodafone. It was great for me to see what it felt like to be living and working on the Coast. It was a little nerve-wracking at first while I found some stability, but I ended up really enjoying the lifestyle.
“The Gold Coast felt like a land of opportunity and I wanted to build a future here.”
Jade unfortunately had to cut her working holiday short due to a family emergency. While she was back in the UK, she made the brave decision to undergo a major brain surgery after suffering from epilepsy since the age of seven.
“It was a big decision and I knew the risks, but a successful brain surgery would open up opportunities to me that would never have been possible while living with epilepsy. I had always lived life to the fullest despite my condition, but I was ready to try and make a change.”
While there were some complications with Jade’s surgery, it was a success. 2022 marks her fifth year clear of epilepsy, which means she no longer needs to register as a previous epileptic.
Jade made herself busy during her post-surgery recovery time by researching how she could make a permanent move to the Gold Coast.
She decided to apply for a student visa that would involve studying Certificate III in Carpentry at TAFE, a career path that would not have been possible prior to her surgery. Jade and her partner Laura saved for two years to fund their move and study fees.
“I was so excited the day that our plan became a reality. I enrolled at TAFE Ashmore, we booked plane tickets, and I passed my drivers license in a four-week crash course three days before we flew out! We officially landed back on the Gold Coast in January 2020.”
Jade has since completed her carpentry course and is now working on building movie sets for a major Disney production on the Gold Coast.
Jade Mellor building production sets.
Jade getting harnessed up for work.
“I was so excited the day that our plan became a reality.”
“While I was studying at TAFE, I got connected with a production designer through the Gold Coast Mayor’s Student Ambassador program that I was selected to be a part of.
“I asked the production designer to go for a coffee with me where I explained my ambitions to work in film.
“In the UK I had previously studied a National Diploma in Production Arts Design, followed by a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. I’d always been too restricted by my epilepsy condition to explore career paths in that space, so I was really keen to combine my creative and construction skills.
“That production designer then put me in touch with a Gold Coast film construction crew, which eventually led to me being offered a position.
“I was very privileged and lucky that my first job happened to be on a Disney production.
“I get so immersed in the unique world of the sets, I often feel like I get lost in the films and TV shows I loved when I was younger. When building the sets, I love to see the creative ideas transform into a physical reality.
“I unfortunately can’t say what production I’m working on due to legal reasons, but I can say I’m getting to build some pretty incredible things that you would never get to do in a standard carpentry or construction job!
“Overall, I’ve found that the Gold Coast is a wonderful place to live, work, and study. There’s always something going on and I’ve had so many opportunities here. I love being able to do work that I’m so passionate about, and also enjoy the relaxed Gold Coast lifestyle.”
While Jade is loving life on the Gold Coast, she will always have a special connection to her hometown.
“The West Midlands will always be my home in my heart. But my mind and my heart wanted to reach for more and that just wasn’t a possibility before.
“I miss Mum’s cooking and cuddles. I know we have FaceTime and social media to stay connected, but it’ll never be the same as knocking on her door and saying ‘put the kettle on’!”
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