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CQUniversity STEPS unlocks study and career options in Adult Learners’ Week

CQUniversity STEPS unlocks study and career options in Adult Learners’ Week

Published:31 August 2017

CQUni PhD student and STEPS lecturer Amy Johnson.

Taking on further study can be daunting in adult life, especially if you never went to university in your younger days.

But a program at the new CQUniversity Perth campus is making uni accessible to everyone – and Adult Learners’ Week is the perfect time to explore study options.

CQUniversity's Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) is a free, Centrelink-approved enabling program that helps students get the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to start a degree.

Making higher education more accessible and equitable, STEPS helps students develop essential skills for academic success, and is central to CQUniversity’s mission to open up study and career opportunities in Perth and across Western Australia.

CQUni Perth STEPS lecturer and Access Coordinator Amy Johnson knows the challenges of taking on study as an adult.

First taking on university at just 20, Amy admits failing as many subjects as she passed, as she juggled her part-time Bachelor of Communications with work and then starting a family over the next seven years.

“I definitely didn’t understand university requirements, and what was expected with assignments – I was very naïve!” she said.

“Most people think uni gets harder as you get older and life gets more complicated – but I found the opposite, it really took that maturity and experience before I started to find my feet.”

Now a PhD student, researching how Defence families use social media to build community, Amy is passionate about sharing her experience and knowledge to empower aspiring students.

“That’s the great thing about STEPS – it’s all about understanding what’s required, and getting the fundamentals of university-level writing, maths, and technology, so you can go into your degree with confidence.”

Successfully completing STEPS can take six months to a year, and gives students entry into CQUniversity degrees, rather than requiring an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank). Since CQUni introduced STEPS in 1986, thousands of CQUniversity STEPS graduates across Australia have successfully moved into the degree of their choice.

CQUniversity Perth, which opened in February this year, also offers on-campus degrees in Accident Forensics, Business, Communications, Echocardiography, Engineering, OHS, Medical Sonography and Project Management.

And as Australia marks Adult Learners’ Week from September 1 – 8, Amy says success as an adult learner usually comes down to taking the first step.

“Once they get started, our STEPS students are amazed how much support and encouragement there is for them to get into their chosen degree, and eventually their dream career,” Amy said.

“So many people give up on the idea of further study, but when you take on STEPS, university has never been more achievable.”

CQUniversity Perth Open Day is on Friday, September 9 from 9am until 1pm, at the CQUniversity Perth campus, 10 William Street, Perth. Visit for more information about getting started.