Travel agent changes plans to future-proof career - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Travel agent changes plans to future-proof career

18 Feb 2021

Even before the upheavals caused by COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, Fraser Coast travel agent Jessica Spain was looking for a new, future-proof career after 10 years working in the industry.

Her solution was to enrol in Social Work at USC’s Fraser Coast campus and will begin her third year of the four-year program when Semester 1 starts in just over a week.

Jessica said she was initially influenced by the wide scope of work options open to Social Work graduates. “It is a degree that does not limit you to one scope of practice or one job role,” she said.

“Knowing there is a high demand for social workers on the Fraser Coast and that I could complete the degree in my home town also played a major part in choosing this career path.”

Jessica said recent events had reinforced that she made the right choice.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for social workers and the job security offered by jobs in health care and social services,” she said.

The cost of studying Social Work has also been reduced after the profession was identified as a priority job of the future in the Federal Government’s new Job-ready Graduates Package.

Applications are still open to study Social Work through USC’s Fraser Coast campus, starting Semester 1 on 1 March.

Jessica said it took a leap of faith for her to enrol at the university, as she had left school before completing Year 11.

“I always thought that university was out of my reach and league. But after working in travel for 10 years, I decided that I wanted to do something completely out of my comfort zone and challenge myself,” she said.

In 2019, she completed USC’s one-year Diploma in Social and Human Service as a pathway to the Social Work degree. Students who complete the diploma receive direct entry and a full year of credit towards a degree in Counselling, Human Services, Social Science or Social Work.

Jessica plans to specialise in the areas of women’s health and families when she graduates.

“I am passionate about people's wellbeing and believe that the support of one person can go such a long way – it is such a simple thing, but it is so vital.”

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