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Showing there’s life beyond the grave – Greer embraces chance at Uni

Published:06 June 2019

Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) student Greer Burgess has recently taken up a three-month field placement with Uniting Care in Rockhampton.

Greer Burgess has traversed a long and winding path but now, more than ever, she’s on track with her study and career ambitions.

After completing school 30 years ago, she was keen to attend university but the lack of online studies meant she would have had to move away to access a campus.

What followed was a range of other life experiences, including work as a grave digger, traffic controller and council employee, and family life raising three children.

“I do recall sitting around a camp fire when I was younger when the conversation turned to regrets and I said my only regret was never having studied at university.

“With my kids having left home, I rekindled my goal of university by enrolling in the STEPS preparatory course at CQUniversity, with the view of studying Social Work.”

Greer was successful in gaining a place in the Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) program and took a step down from full-time to part-time work, so she could focus on university.

However, with her husband battling illness, she still faced the challenge of juggling study, work and the role of carer.

Greer has recently taken up a three-month field placement with Uniting Care in Rockhampton and she’s planning for a four-month placement next year. Both are unpaid.

With these challenges on her time and finances, Greer has welcomed several CQUniversity support scholarships geared for students from low socio-economic (low SES) backgrounds.

The latest is a $3000 CQUniCares Industry Placement Scholarship, helping to cover travel and other expenses during her unpaid field placements.

This tailored scholarship aims to assist students with the costs of any required professional resources, living expenses, childcare, transport and accommodation costs incurred during placement.

“This scholarship will make a huge difference for me, and I am so, so grateful for the assistance. It will definitely help me to navigate the barriers to completing my degree,” Greer says.

“The immense faith in my abilities and support that I receive from all areas of the University, from my lecturers to support staff, is amazing!”

Greer, who is doing very well with her academic results, says her field placement is a great opportunity for networking and for getting to know key people in her desired industry of social work.

Rachel Lamb, Program Officer, Scholarships and Financial Assistance, says it’s inspiring to hear the stories of students like Greer.

“It really accentuates the difference receiving a scholarship can make on achieving success at university. Scholarships help students to focus more time and energy on their studies and less time stressing about finances,” Ms Lamb says.

* CQUniCares LSES Scholarships and Financial Literacy program is a CQUniversity program funded through the Australian Department of Education and Training, Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP). It aims to ensure that students from low SES backgrounds are able to meet some of the significant costs associated with their studies and compulsory industry placements in order to succeed and graduate. The program also aims to improve the financial literacy of these students by delivering interactive money management education and workshops.

* Term 2 CQUni Scholarships are now open and close in early July. All current students are encouraged to apply online as soon as possible - visit www.cqu.edu.au/scholarships for more information.