CQUni graduate work opportunities outstrip big city rivals
JACQUELINE Latchman said moving her three young children all the way from Arnhem Land to Rockhampton, so she could study occupational therapy at CQUniversity, proved the right decision.
Having previously lived in Dubbo and Darwin, Ms Latchman said she was eager to escape the hustle and bustle of raising a family in a big city.
"Even if I got the perfect job opportunity in a big city, the answer would probably still be no," she said from her Wandal home in West Rockhampton.
"We're five minutes away from the kids' schools here, from our work and the hospital: all the factors you look for for a family.
"All our kids are involved in extra-curricular activities so, on the weekends, we can drop one off at sports then drive two minutes to pick up another."
A recent survey commissioned by the federal Department of Education revealed students at regional universities were more likely to land a job than graduates from the so-called 'sandstone' institutions in the capitals.
Central Queensland University missed out on the national top 10 - in which only two big-city universities were named - by a mere 0.8 per cent, but placed ahead of big names such as Monash, University of Queensland, Macquarie and Deakin.
With a graduate full-time employment outcome of 73 per cent, it outstripped stragglers such as the University of Western Australia (54.5 per cent) and the University of Melbourne (57 per cent).
CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Klomp said it was a "great result" to be placed at number three in Queensland for full-time graduate outcomes.
He said because CQUniversity courses had great industry placements and students were encouraged to get involved in various leadership and mentoring opportunities, many graduates found work before they even graduated.
Ms Latchman undertook the university's STEPS program in order to ready herself for the requirements of a four-year honours degree in occupational therapy.
She said the course's practical requirements, which took her off-campus to work with local organisations, gave her the confidence to apply for local jobs before she graduated a little less than four weeks ago.
"In my second year studies, I went out into local schools to develop my paediatric skills," she said.
"And for my honours project, I worked with the nGundanoo Imbabee Community Childcare Centre, on CQUniversity's campus, promoting occupational therapy services alongside early intervention."
Even COVID-19 restrictions couldn't prevent Ms Latchman, who previously worked as a disability support worker, from achieving her five-year goal.
"CQUniversity quickly adapted to the pandemic to ensure we could graduate on time," she said.
"I was very fortunate to work a five-week project developing guidelines and standard operating procedures for tele-health within a local organisation; it's a very viable option for rural and remote areas."
Ms Latchman successfully applied for a position at Entirely Health (previously CQ Physio) halfway through her final term and in advance of her final assessment on October 21.
With three children aged nine to 13, Ms Latchman and her husband - who also found his "dream job" in Central Queensland - aim to settle locally for the foreseeable future.
"We look forward to our kids growing up and finishing their school journey here," she said.
"Having spent five years in one location, it feels nice to give back to the community which supported my studies and made my family feel welcome.
"I wouldn't change it for anything."