New career begins at 60!

STARTING university and embarking on a new career at 60 years of age isn’t fazing Marilyn (Lyn) Smythe of Maryborough.

Having just completed the Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP) at USQHub@Maryborough, the massage therapist is excited about her expected acceptance into a University of Southern Queensland (USQ) undergraduate program for next year.

“As my step-son said when told I was going to university: ‘Life begins at 60!’”

While waiting for the results of her final TPP exam, Ms Smythe has been perusing the courses involved in the USQ program of her choice – Bachelor of Arts majoring in history and Australian studies.

“The courses are all really interesting,” Ms Smythe said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

career; university; tertiary; history; politics; Australia.

Marilyn (Lyn) Smythe of Maryborough looks forward to learning more about Australian politics.

The grandmother of two young girls said that although she was a qualified massage therapist and had run her own business for the past 12 years, she did not have degree level education.

“I left school on my 15th birthday, in my third year of high school which today is equivalent to Year 9.

“Over the years I’ve been very lucky in securing really good jobs. Spending four years in the Navy led to other defence-related administration jobs”.

“In 1998 I felt it was time to leave Sydney and as my family was now in Queensland, I moved to the Sunshine Coast. Because of the difficulty in securing an office job, when an opportunity arose for me to enrol in a massage course at Nambour TAFE I took that opportunity.

“After moving to Maryborough in 2003, I opened a remedial massage clinic with my partner, which I continued until starting TPP at USQ in July.”

“Because of physical strains of doing massages, most therapists remain in the business for only four or five years. I was in business for 12 years and was really starting to feel the effects.

“I’m interested in doing research either in the political realm or for books and documentaries. Being able to work in a new career from home would be ideal.

“My USQ studies will be mostly external and I’ll be able to use the University’s facilities in Maryborough and Hervey Bay.”

Ms Smythe urges anyone who is thinking about applying for university to give it a go. For those who haven’t studied for some time, she recommends enrolling in TPP first to get a feel for university without committing too far ahead.

“You don’t know what you can do until you take that first step,” Ms Smythe said.

“And you’ll get so much support from the lecturers and other staff at USQ. The TPP course doesn’t cost anything. If you need a change in career, just give it a go. I thoroughly enjoyed doing TPP.”

Kick start your career in Maryborough

USQ Vice Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas said almost 50 course enrolments in TPP and Head start with a 90% retention rate had been achieved at USQHub@Maryborough since it opened in July.

“More than 30 students enrolled in USQ programs living in the Maryborough region are also accessing the Hub services,” Professor Thomas said.

For more study and career information available at USQHub@Maryborough please visit:


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Discovering a new career in Maryborough

DIGGING into a social media web site has unearthed a promising future for Annette Seymour of Maryborough.

The 52-year-old mother of four, is excited about becoming an archaeologist thanks to her friend’s Facebook comments about experiences at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

Originally from Tamworth in New South Wales, the proud Anaiwan/Wiradjuri woman had never dreamt that university was possible for her until she read online about USQ in Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

“My friend posted some comments about USQ on the Fraser Coast Event’s page so I thought I’d check it out and see what university was all about.

“She encouraged me to apply for uni, saying there was no reason why I couldn’t. I put the form in for IHEPP (Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program), did the aptitude test and passed.

“It was daunting but I did it and now I’m excited about starting a Bachelor of Arts majoring in archaeology next year.”

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett said the IHEPP provided access to tertiary study for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who for social, economic and cultural reasons, have missed out on educational opportunities at various stages of their lives.

“Successful completion of the IHEPP leads to admission to specified undergraduate award programs of the University,” Mr Langabeer said.

“While Annette did IHEPP externally, she had full access to USQ facilities at the new study hub in Maryborough throughout the six-month course.”

Located in Sussex Street, the USQHub@Maryborough opened in July and provides face-to-face support for students enrolled in the Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP) and for school students enrolled in introductory Head Start courses where first-year USQ courses can be completed while students are still at school.

Intensive TPP and Head Start courses are offered in Semester 3, which runs during the Christmas-New Year school holiday period.

Ms Seymour recently sat her final IHEPP exam and is awaiting the results. Once her successful completion is official, her undergraduate degree enrolment will also be confirmed.

“It’s looking good so far,” she said. “I’m especially excited that I’ll be able to again use the resources at the USQ study hub in Maryborough while studying externally.”

A career in archaeology that will serve her well in retirement is a far cry from “picking up odd jobs” as she has done since high school.

“I’ve always been interested in archaeology but at school I was mostly playing sport. I was also very good at Maths – I finished in the top 10 in New South Wales – and I liked the sciences.

“I’m also into genealogy and want to get into preservation and archiving, so doing the USQ degree is an avenue to do that.

“I get to dig ‘em up and preserve ‘em as well! How good is that?” she laughed.

“Ideally I’d love to dig in my ancestors’ areas around Tamworth, Armidale or Wellington in New South Wales, or locally on Fraser Island or at Maryborough’s old township site, as a start. Basically, anywhere I can get my teeth into something!”

Ms Seymour said she was really grateful for the support of her partner Jane Setter and their four children aged 23, 21, 18 and 16 years.

“Jane takes care of the day-to-day things while I’m studying and the kids are quite independent now.”

Mr Langabeer said 49 course enrolments in TPP and Head start with a 90% retention rate had been achieved at USQHub@Maryborough since it opened just six months ago.

“The first cohort of the TPP, IHEPP and Head start students at USQHub@Maryborough have just finished exams and awaiting results to gain access into the undergraduate degrees,” Mr Langabeer said.

“These students are good examples and are leading the way for many others to follow in their footsteps.

“More than 30 students enrolled in USQ programs living in the Maryborough region are accessing the Hub services too.”


Photo: Annette Seymour is looking forward to studying archaeology externally while using the university resources at USQHub@Maryborough next year.

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USQ students meet role models

USQ FRASER Coast students and industry role models had a chance to rub shoulders at the launch of the 2013 Career Mentoring Program in June 2013.

Career Mentoring program coordinator Catherine Chinnock said the evening event gave this year’s participants the opportunity to meet with program peers and celebrate mentoring as a professional development activity.

This program has been running at USQ since 2005 but we are now hoping to expand on it at the Fraser Coast campus with a focus on community engagement,” Ms Chinnock said.

“We hope to see more USQ students make the most of this program because it’s such a good opportunity to help them prepare for their future careers.”

Coming on board as a first-time mentor this year is Kim Griffith, the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s Principal Officer Events.

“I volunteered to join the program with the hope that I can help a student with his or her career choices,” Ms Griffith said.

“It is important that we help each other and if someone can learn from all the things I’ve learnt throughout my career, that’s the most important thing for me.”

Her mentee, Sarah Rainey, is a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) student who moved to Hervey Bay from England 12 months ago.

“I’m hoping this program will give me insights into the events, marketing and tourism industries and help build my networks in Australia,” Ms Rainey said.

USQ Fraser Coast Campus Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said the USQ Career Mentoring Program was valuable for both industry experts and students.

“It’s great to have the involvement of our local experts, both retired and working, who are coming to USQ to network and mentor our students,” Mr Langabeer said.

“This program provides students with opportunities to not only make connections with industry experts but to also learn from their mentors’ experiences. The students’ own experiences within their chosen industries are beneficial for their growth and development.”

USQ Fraser Coast Graduate Employment Officer Tracy-Madonna Wylie said that as mentors, the program gave industry professionals the opportunity to develop their own leadership and management skills as well as reflect on their career journeys.

“They also have the chance to build their networks by engaging with other participants at mentoring events and in online forums.

“For students, mentoring helps boost their self-confidence and make the transition from student to confident professional.”

“In order to make this valuable opportunity most relevant to our Fraser Coast students we will again be calling for mentors early next year to join the 2014 program.

“Their commitment of two hours per month could make the critical difference to USQ Fraser Coast graduates and help set them up for success in their chosen careers.”

More information on USQ’s mentor program, visit, or contact USQ Fraser Coast Graduate Employment Officer Tracy-Madonna Wylie on (07) 4194 3125.

CAPTION: Attending the USQ Fraser Coast 2013 Career Mentor Program Launch are: (front l-r) USQ Fraser Coast Campus Executive Manager Brett Langabeer, Sarah Rainey, Kim Griffith, Karen Cate, Geoff Skerritt, USQ Graduate Employment Officer Tracy-Madonna Wylie, Tanya Bridge, Liz Nicoll and USQ Employment Services Liaison Officer Catherine Chinnock; (back l-r) Jenny Ball, Lauretta Wright, Greg McKenzie, Ken Matheson, Dale Sneddon and Ann Moffatt. Photo: JOCELYN WATTS