Mum swaps sales for study to help young people | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Mum swaps sales for study to help young people

Stints as a foster carer recently prompted Morayfield mother-of-three Rebecca Patterson to reassess her career options and begin studying at USC Moreton Bay.

Ms Patterson, 41, who had worked in sales for 20 years, said her experience of fostering two children led her to look towards a career that could help improve children’s lives.

“I got into Social Work because I felt like I should be helping people, which my peers said I do well,” she said.

Despite doubting her ability to study after leaving school after Year 10, Ms Patterson said she had adapted well since starting a four-year Bachelor of Social Work degree in mid-2020.

“I hadn’t studied before – I had just worked,” she said. “University was a big switch, however it’s great. I really love it actually, and you get out of it what you put in.”

“Self-doubt is a serious issue these days, so I suggest if you have been thinking about a change, or that study seems too daunting, please go out and try - give it a go for you.

“I truly hope that my story inspires others to follow their dreams.”

Ms Patterson said her current work as a part-time disability support worker was a perfect link to her goal of working in child safety and youth and community development.

“It just gives me an idea of what happens for people,” she said. “You get to see it from the other side, which is great.”

She said the USC Moreton Bay campus, located near the Petrie railway station, was the logical choice for her.

“It is the most local campus, offered the program I was looking into, and it had new facilities, so it seemed the right place to go,” she said.

Ms Patterson was recently awarded a Moreton Bay Regional Council-sponsored bursary by the National Council of Women of Queensland Inc (NCWQ) to assist her in her studies at USC.

NCWQ Bursary Program Manager Kathy Cavanagh said Ms Patterson was an outstanding applicant – a foster mother, first in her family to undertake university education, and with a strong community focus and involvement in a variety of community groups, including a men’s shed.

The NCWQ bursary program supports women who demonstrate leadership, community service, and determination, often despite obstacles, to follow their personal and professional passions.

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