More jobs for tertiary educated people on horizon

FRASER Coast is growing as an employment destination for people with tertiary qualifications.

That’s the opinion of University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Vice-Chancellor & President Professor Jan Thomas after the university held its Student Advisors Information Day (SAID) on June 4.

Professor Thomas said USQ Fraser Coast had experienced a 47% increase in QTAC applications this year, suggesting that more students were wanting to study and find employment locally.

She said that with the rapid expansion of construction projects in the region including about $230m in property investments over the past 18 months with the new St Stephens Hospital and Stockland’s Shopping Centre, industries such as professional services, health, social assistance and education were all increasing in terms of output, value and employment.

“Paralleling that, we’re seeing greater demand for qualified people to work in those industries and USQ is developing programs that align to those needs, “Professor Thomas said.

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said the annual SAID event was designed to better equip advisors when supporting students with their future career choices.

“As we move into the future, more qualified people will be needed in the health sector providing more employment opportunities locally,” he said.

“The sessions covered topics of interest to the staff who work with students intending to make the transition to university life in the years ahead.”

Information was shared on USQ’s study areas such as humanities and communications, engineering and built environment, health and community, sciences, business and commerce, law and justice, education, information technology and creative arts.

Topics also included pathway programs and admissions as well as counselling, disability and Indigenous support.

Representatives from 10 Fraser Coast high schools attended this year’s Student Advisors Information Day.

Among them was Deb Lovell from Maryborough’s Riverside Christian College who said: “I love coming to these events, you always learn something new. Things change all the time so this event keeps us up-to-date on scholarships and anything else that may have changed from one year to another.”


Photos: Kristen Hooper (left) and Deb Lovell from Maryborough’s Riverside Christian College chat with USQ Lecturer (Diversity and Inclusive Education) Stephen Hughes.

Awards for community programs

THE ORGANISERS of two University of Southern Queensland (USQ) programs have been honoured with an award that recognises and encourages exceptional community service by USQ employees.

FCHP: LEARN and BEAMS have each won a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement and Service, with Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla presenting the certificates during a staff ceremony at USQ Fraser Coast last week.


The Fraser Coast Health Professionals: Local Education and Research Nexus (FCHP: LEARN), led by USQ staff Associate Professor Jennifer Kelly and senior lecturers Dr Jamie Shield and Julie Martyn, designed and ran a program of fortnightly workshops throughout 2014 covering health practice, management and research topics.

“We wanted a multi-discipline program that would cater to all local health professionals and relevant organisations. Most importantly we wanted affordable access to ongoing education for Fraser Coast people who work in health-related areas,” Associate Professor Kelly said.

More than 450 health professionals attended workshops throughout 2014 with representatives coming from medicine, nursing, midwifery, dietetics, science, research, social work, disabilities, dentistry, aged care and private healthcare.

Building Engagement and Aspirations through Mentoring in Schools (BEAMS) is a volunteer peer mentoring program aimed at widening tertiary participation.

USQ students regularly visited Fraser Coast schools throughout 2014 to interact and support students in their classrooms. Mentoring also enhances USQ students’ skills and knowledge to increase their employability.


BEAMS project officer Tracy-Madonna Wylie said there had been an increase of the number of USQ mentors and their involvement in the local state high schools, particularly working with students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

“Winning this Award was particularly exciting for the USQ Fraser Coast as 2014 marked the launch of the BEAMS program in our region,” Ms Wylie said.

“Congratulations should also go to the local high schools that have been very supportive of this program and the wonderful USQ students who trained as BEAMS mentors and volunteered their time and expertise to work with the high school students.”

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas congratulated everyone involved in winning this year’s awards for outstanding community engagement.

“Their work was selected from high quality nominations across USQ’s campuses at Toowoomba, Fraser Coast, Springfield and Ipswich,” Professor Thomas said.

Next year’s FCHP: LEARN program was launched at USQ Fraser Coast on December 16. Workshop topics in 2015 will include superbugs, healthy teams and much more.

For more information on the 2015 FCHP: LEARN program, please visit the USQ website at



USQ Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla (centre) presents a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement to USQ Fraser Coast BEAMS representatives Tracy-Madonna Wylie (left) and Elle Green.

Feature photo (top): USQ Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla (left) presents a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement to FCHP:LEARN representatives Tania Wiesmayr-Freeman, Julie Martyn and Ruth Newby.


Aged care professionals in demand

FRASER Coast health professionals looking to hone their skills in aged care now have the opportunity to upgrade their qualifications locally with the introduction of a new graduate certificate at University of Southern Queensland.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas said enrolment applications were now open for the Graduate Certificate in Health (Aged Care), which will be launched at USQ Fraser Coast tomorrow evening, Tuesday December 16.

“Demand for aged care is expected to grow significantly in years to come therefore anyone pursuing further education in that area will place themselves in an ideal position to secure ongoing and/or improved employment,” Professor Thomas said.

Leading not-for-profit organisation OzCare recently announced its plan to build a $30 million aged-care facility with a 150-bed capacity in Hervey Bay next year.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt has also announced an additional 126 residential care packages and 57 home care packages across Hervey Bay, Bargara and Bundaberg.

Mr Pitt said more than 17,800 people would benefit from new places and packages nationally.

“These extra residential and home care places will help meet the growing demand for aged care,” Mr Pitt said.

In October, Mr Pitt told Parliament that between 2013-14 and 2016-17, $1.1 billion would flow to aged-care providers.

“This includes a 2.4 per cent increase on top of normal indexation of care funding for eligible aged-care programs from July this year.

“Aged-care providers in regional, rural and remote areas will receive a $54 million boost in funding through a 20 per cent increase to the viability supplement.

“This funding boost will help improve the capacity of over 950 services in these areas to provide quality aged care.”

Mr Pitt said only 5% of Australians over the age of 65 lived in residential aged care.

“We know that most people want to remain living in their own home for as long as possible, which is why we are increasing the number of home-care packages. There will be an additional 80,000 over the next 10 years.”

Graduate Certificate in Health (Aged Care)

Professor Thomas said USQ’s new Graduate Certificate in Health (Aged Care) was open to registered health professionals who had a passion for working with older people in a variety of settings.

“This certificate is designed to help post-graduate students develop knowledge and expertise in healthy ageing,” she said.

“Strengthening the professional development of health professionals working in related areas of their chosen specialisation, the Graduate Certificate of Health enables graduates to become experts in their field.

“After completing the Graduate Certificate of Health, students have the option to take the credit from their studies and go on to complete the Graduate Diploma of Health or the Master of Health.”

For certificate details and information on how to apply, visit


Photo: USQ head of nursing and midwifery Professor Cath Rogers, executive Dean of health, engineering and sciences Lyn Karstadt, USQ Fraser Coast executive manager Brett Langabeer and senior nursing lecturer Julie Martyn.