I chose CQU because I have had a long affiliation with the University here in Mackay, having completed my first qualification with the University when it was the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE in 2000 (the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE and CQUniversity merged in 2014, making CQUni Australia's first dual sector university). From there I also completed my traineeship through CQIT so when it came time to start my degree, CQUni was the natural choice because the University had been so good to me in the past.
I completed a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE) from CQUni in 2017 and am currently studying a Bachelor of Business and Certificate IV in Leadership and Management – I'm due to complete these in 2019. My TAE has made my current role easier to understand and given me a greater understanding and awareness of the legislation around my position as the Vocational Education and Training in Schools (STN) Officer at CQUniversity. In this role, I assist high school students to undertake their external studies whilst they are still at school.
My qualifications help me talk to young people about the various pathways they may take to completing university, rather than just the standard leave-school-go-to-Uni pathway. Once I show them that my pathway has zig-zagged along a whole range of areas to lead to my degree, it makes it easier for them to see that they do not have to take a traditional pathway to get to where they want to go.
From a professional standpoint being able to give back to the young people of Mackay - the same way the CQIT gave to me - has been the highlight of my career. Being on staff with the same organisation that has led me through my learning journey to show others that it can be done has been invaluable for me.
Personally, it has just been that sense of achievement for me and being able to be a role model for my own children in their education. I can show them that I practice what I preach when I am at them about their homework because we have all been able to sit down and work through homework together. I think it gives my kids a sense of not having an excuse for why you can't continue with your education and instilling that value of lifelong learning into them because I am not yet done with my education.