How Melissa strengthened her capacity to learn, earn and lead

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the inspiring journey of Melissa Evans, a genU Training Mental Health Graduate who is using her lived experience to do good in the world.

Melissa’s story is a testament to the power of education to accelerate women’s progress. Her journey with genU Training began as a stay-at-home mom with “barely” a year nine education.

“Self doubt was always running through my head – ‘I’m not smart enough.’ ‘I’m going to fail.’ ‘No don’t answer that question, it’s wrong and you’re going to look so silly.’ The list goes on,” she recalled.

Melissa was one of ten children in her family, and her childhood was fraught with challenges in the foster care system with her siblings.

“Myself and my older sister stayed with many different families and experienced first-hand what the system was like for kids in and out of home care. Some were good…some moments and carers were horrible.”

Melissa refused to let these experiences define her. Instead, they fuelled her determination to make a difference for young people in similar circumstances. Melissa believed her personal experiences could help break down barriers and eliminate the stigma associated with being part of the system.

With unwavering encouragement and support from family and friends, Melissa took the leap and enrolled in genU Training to study a Certificate IV in Mental Health. 

“When I enrolled with genU Training, I was so nervous… I didn’t think I would be able to meet the requirements to gain my qualifications, Melissa said.

 It was genU trainer, Azra, who helped her realise her potential. 

“I gained confidence in myself as the weeks went on,” she said. “I was able to speak with confidence without self-doubt or stuttering when speaking to the class. That was due to Azra consistently empowering us, building each student up to see our strengths.”

After successfully graduating, Melissa landed her dream job at the Victorian Aboriginal Childcare Agency (VACCA), providing residential care for young people. Using her lived experience, she brought compassion and understanding to her role, and was a key contributor when her team was recognised with the Victorian Residential Care Award for Excellence in 2022. “I got to go to work every day doing what I love,” she said.

Today, Melissa continues to make a difference as a mental health support worker, providing outreach support to people in need. She credits her transformative journey to genU Training trainer, Azra, whose empowering teaching style helped her gain self-confidence and see her strengths.

“She always cheered us on, and …was our biggest supporter. Thank you, Azra, for being the teacher that you are, you are a special kind!”


Melissa’s story is a powerful example of what can be achieved when women are supported to learn, earn and lead. Lean more about genU Training’s education that empowers people to use their new skills to create good in the world. genU Training | Education for good


It’s International Women’s Day on Friday March 8. This year’s United Nations theme is “Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress” and highlights women’s economic empowerment as central to a gender equal world. When women are given equal opportunities to earn, learn and lead, entire communities thrive.