Preparing for Success program turns 10

Published in the November 2016 issue

Now celebrating its 10th year, Southern Cross University’s Preparing for Success at SCU Program (PSP) has produced many tales of triumph.

Thousands of students have successfully completed the program and gone on to undertake further undergraduate studies and enter their dream jobs.  Offered at each of the University’s campuses and online, the course equips students with the skills they need to succeed at university.

Osteo Dean Pollock

Osteo Dean Pollock

Justin Gaetano is just one of the success stories. He was working in a cheese factory in Bega before taking the plunge to move to Coffs Harbour where he completed the PSP program.  He went on to earn the University Medal for exceptional academic ability for a Bachelor of Psychology with First Class Honours and has since completed a PhD. He is now working as a Research Officer with Mid Coast Communities.

Professor Janet Taylor, director of SCU College, said the award-winning higher education preparatory program provided an alternative Southern Cross University entry pathway, giving opportunities to a range of people who might not otherwise have considered University study.

The program was the brainchild of Maria Simms, who brought the program to life in 2006.

“What you see are students who come with a vision and a twinkle in their eyes around a goal that they have in mind, even if they don’t know if they’re ready to do the type of work that university requires to become a teacher, nurse or engineer,” Professor Taylor said.

“They often come in nervous and haven’t necessarily had success in studying in the past. You see them grow in confidence throughout the course as they become fully-fledged university students.

Justin, who was initially inspired to go to University by his migrant father who started a nursing degree at the age of 51, said people should not underestimate what they can achieve.

“It was a few years since I’d been to high school which is very different from university study so I was very thankful for that preparatory course,” Justin said.

Helen Kane credits the PSP program for her transition from a medical receptionist to Registered Nurse in the specialist area of renal dialysis.

“In 2007 when I very nervously embarked on the PSP, I had children in Years 10 and 12, a chef husband working long hours, and a part-time receptionist position in a busy general practice. I had dropped out of school after first term Year 11, 25 years earlier, to reluctantly work in a bank.  The second youngest of seven children to working class parents, I then believed a tertiary education was out of my reach,” Helen said.

“I initially saw the PSP, with its external study option, as a safe stepping stone; a low risk potential way to gain entry to a nursing degree, while exploring my ability to cope with further study as a mature age student.  That I could combine the program with my existing employment, and the minimal financial outlay for a calculator and one text book, were essential components of taking that first step.”

Helen went on to complete her nursing degree in the minimum three years, while continuing to work part-time and was awarded the Royal College of Nursing High Achiever award for 2010.

“I am certain that were it not for the PSP, I would still be working as a medical receptionist, watching the nurses at work, and occasionally wondering if I too could have done that.”

Another success story for PSP is Dean Pollock, who at age 35 was among the first cohort in 2006 to graduate. He went on to complete undergraduate and postgraduate studies and was part of the University’s inaugural graduating osteopath class in 2011.

As a fully-qualified and registered osteopath Dean opened his own business Lismore Osteopathy within the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre premises in 2012 and also works as a supervisor for students at the SCU Health Clinic at the Lismore campus.

“The idea of enrolling in the program was to make sure I could study again because I hadn’t been in a classroom for such a long time,” Mr Pollock said.

“I’d been working as a salesman and delivery driver and I needed a change, but I had nothing to worry about with heading back to uni as I ended up gaining all High Distinctions in the PSP course and enrolled straight into osteo which really suited my passion for sport and wanting to help rehabilitate people.”

The program is offered through SCU College, which also offers a range of associate degrees and English language programs.

For information visit SCU College.

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  1. Kelli Cahill says:

    The PSP program is amazing, I started PSP in 2012 at the age of 40 as a single mum. I have just completed a Bachelor of Podiatry at 45 and start full time work in January 2017. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to change their future for the better and dare to dream.