Column piece: CQ Today

10 November 2022

One of the things that makes me proud of CQUniversity' is how our Skills for Tertiary Education Preparation' or STEPS program' has been the stepping stone for everyday people to follow their dreams.

STEPS is a free bridging course that provides a pathway for you to gain entry to and excel in higher education. And for more than 35 years' STEPS has helped students enter a wide range of courses' from our flagship health courses' nursing and paramedic science' to engineering' psychology' teaching and more.

CQU student Doreen Canoy is a shining example of how STEPS truly sets people on the path to success.

More than two decades after completing high school and fulfilling her role as a mum to young children' Doreen made the momentous decision to enrol in STEPS.

Doreen wasn't entirely sure what she wanted to do' but she knew she wanted a career and financial freedom' and an advertisement for STEPS in the local newspaper set her on the right path.

After she completed her STEPS course' Doreen enrolled in a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) degree part-time. She juggled parenting with her studies for six years while working' and through perseverance' she came out on top. After working for two years following her STEPS graduation' she even returned to CQU to undertake a Master of Clinical Psychology.

Doreen was even awarded the Australian Psychological Society Student Prize for the Clinical College of the APS (CCLP) for her clinical thesis.

Another STEPS success story is Duane Gerussi of Cairns' who found new life in STEPS after losing his job.

Previously employed as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher' the competitive job market forced Duane onto Centrelink support. Tertiary education seemed like the only hope – a career change into the area of Engineering.

Having been out of the education system for so long' STEPS allowed Duane to gain the fundamental skills to meet the prerequisites of the Engineering course.

As testimony to his tenacity and intelligence' Duane received six Distinctions and 19 High Distinctions throughout his engineering studies before graduating with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 6.769 in 2020.

Now employed as a geotechnical engineer' Duane said these skills have aided him throughout his career' even helping him to earn a Student Engineer President's Commendation from Engineers Australia Queensland' for contributions to the engineering community in the greater Cairns region.

CQUniversity's STEPS program is proof that anyone' regardless of their education experience or employment circumstance has a chance to be who they want to be and in turn change the lives of others across our communities.