Community & Business

23 December, 2023

University centre opens doors for students

STUDENTS wishing to pursue higher education are making the most of the new Tablelands University Centre (TUC).

Jasmine Hyde (left) and Sophie Mohr are relishing the availability of the Tablelands University Centre to pursue their studies.
Jasmine Hyde (left) and Sophie Mohr are relishing the availability of the Tablelands University Centre to pursue their studies.

Sophie Mohr and Jasmine Hyde are just two of the many students making strides toward their educational pursuits through the centre, which is initiative by Vocational Partnerships Group (VPG).

Motivated by their collective commitment to remain in the community they call home while pursuing higher education, the students are enrolled in a free enabling course, Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS), offered by Central Queensland University (CQU), which opens pathways to university studies for those navigating non-traditional entry requirements. 

Currently, Sophie and Jasmine are attending online classes, utilising the resources and facilities at the TUC to facilitate their studies. Both students will be able to apply directly to CQU for their chosen degree courses once they have successfully completed the required STEPS units.

For Jasmine, an early school leaver, the course is her ticket to a fresh start. 

"This course is a way for me to get the skills I need to pursue my dream career in law and criminology,” she said.

“With the help of VPG, I was able to identify study options to get me on track towards my goal.”

Driven by a passion for education and inspired by her mother's role at a local school, Sophie says the enabling course is a way for her to meet prerequisites for a Bachelor of Education.

“Education has always been my passion, especially working with children,” she said.

“This course not only opens the door to my degree but also allows me to sharpen my academic skills before I start university.”

Expressing their dedication to the Atherton Tablelands, both Sophie and Jasmine envision contributing to the region's growth and prosperity post their higher education studies. 

“After uni, I'd love to stay here - it's my home, and I much prefer living in a small town than a city,” Sophie said.

and supported by the Australian Government through the Regional University Study Hubs Program, is reshaping the higher education narrative on the Atherton Tablelands.

VPG chief executive officer Maryanne Tranter said the new university centre was reshaping the higher education narrative on the Atherton Tablelands.

She also emphasised the facility’s role in creating a supportive community of learners. 

“We recognise that learning is a shared journey, not just an individual pursuit, which is why it’s important we create a vibrant space at the TUC for fostering motivation, purpose, and connections among local students who share similar experiences,” Ms Tranter said.

“We also offer a range of support services to help students achieve their academic and personal goals, including extensive career guidance and support for those considering university or returning to study, helping them to research relevant courses, universities, and entry pathways.”

CQU STEPS access coordinator Virginia Kruger says her organisation is proud to be working with the Tablelands centre.

“CQUniversity is proud to work with the Tablelands University Centre and the vital services and facilities it provides to support regional students,” she said.

“The TUC helps to make online learning more manageable for students, while reducing the expenses, time, and travel associated with commuting to campuses in Cairns.

“The STEPS course is a wonderful free enabling course that offers regional and remote students a pathway to university entry. 

“The CQUniversity STEPS team is thrilled to work with TUC to help aspiring students and future graduates remain in their communities.”

The TUC is open to all local students who are studying university or VET courses online at any Australian institution at no cost.

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