Development students make final of Asia-Pacific competition

A UNIVERSITY of the Sunshine Coast team has beaten competitors from across the Asia-Pacific to reach the final of the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society International Feasibility Competition.

The competition called for mock expressions of interest to build medium-density residential developments in two precincts in earthquake-devastated Christchurch, New Zealand.

Cate MacMillan, of Buddina, and Matt Paterson, of Little Mountain, teamed up during the final semester of their property economics and development degrees last year to submit a development proposal.

They will fly to Malaysia tomorrow to present their proposal in the final against teams from the Queensland University of Technology and the University of Malaya.

Mr Paterson, 32, did his degree part-time over five years while working full-time.

His first job in property was as an assistant property manager for BWS and Woolworths after working his way up from stacking shelves and working the cash register.

"I was always interested in property but I have to give credit to my manager at Woolworths who actually offered me a promotion on the proviso that I start studying a property economics degree," he said.

Ms MacMillan, 56, recently retired as principal of Noosa District State High School and turned towards a university degree in a new field.

"I thought the property courses at USC looked really interesting and I must say I've loved doing the

degree and really enjoyed learning something new," she said.

Ms MacMillan volunteers as the development officer for The Compass Institute, a local organisation that delivers education and training to school leavers with intellectual and physical disabilities.

"One of the big issues that's come out of working with Compass is the need for housing for adults with a disability to live in independently," she said.

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