STEPS offers Duane a fresh start

29 June 2022

After the loss of his job and a marriage breakup' Duane Gerussi began to be disheartened about the future' until he heard about CQUniversity's Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS).

"From the moment I was introduced to STEPS' my fortune started to change'" Duane said.

"It was an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience that helped me change my career and pursue my passion.

"Previously' I was employed as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher' but with the competitive job market I needed to rely on Centrelink support.

"This was when I decided that full-time tertiary study would be a better option. This was something I had always wanted to do but never had the opportunity."

Initially' Duane applied to study engineering at the CQUniversity Cairns campus' but due to a prolonged absence from the education system' did not meet the necessary prerequisites for the course.

Fortunately' STEPS provided Duane with a pathway to gain entry to and excel in higher education' enabling a smooth transition into full-time undergraduate study.

"I highly recommend anyone interested in higher education to complete STEPS. Once I started my undergraduate course' I felt I had a distinct advantage over others who had not completed STEPS'" he said.

"Not only did it help to familiarise me with the CQU protocols and navigation of the all-important Moodle site' but it provided much-needed interaction with new peers and the guidance and support of excellent lecturers."

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.

"The greatest skill I took away was an appreciation for the state of mindfulness needed to enjoy the full benefit of university study'" Duane said.

"I liken this to a new way of thinking and processing information. It has been helpful when critiquing literature for research purposes and reviewing my own work before submission.

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.

"Starting my university journey with STEPS helped me embrace the learnings that would ultimately set me up for success."

Enrol now for Term 2 STEPS