Mature pathway into university
THE Special Tertiary Admissions Test is not the only way mature-age workers can pursue university study to improve their career prospects or change their profession.
Educators are now trying to ease the way for prospective students who have not taken the traditional pathway from Year 12 into tertiary education.
The University of South Australia’s UniSA College is one example of an alternative pathway.
Students who enrol in its undergraduate courses complete a free one-year foundation studies program.
It is designed to teach them how to study at university and, when they successfully complete the program, prepare them for their courses.
UniSA College academic director and deputy head Stephen Boyle says it is a better alternative for matureage workers who have never studied at a tertiary level as well as younger people who struggled in Year 12.
‘‘ The STAT test can be quite daunting,’’ Boyle says.
‘‘ There’s no requirement, no minimum you have to have. You just need to apply (for the foundation studies program).’’
About 750 students this year studied the program at UniSA, ranging from 18 to 80 years of age. ‘‘ It’s a really popular option (and) gives them the skills they need to be successful,’’ he says.
‘‘ They get a bit of a taste then progress. It gives you an idea of what it’s about. It’s different to school or work – a different environment.’’
Mature-age workers who have completed TAFE certificates also can use those qualifications to apply for further study at university.
When it comes to postgraduate studies for professionals improving their qualifications, typical requirements are for the person to have completed a three-year undergraduate degree with an Australian education provider.
Regardless of the method, Boyle says it is something workers should consider.
‘‘ If someone wants to do study, they should do it,’’ he says. ‘‘ It’s a great investment to make.’’
Mark Murray, 52, was a winemaker when he chose to go back to university to study information technology.
He will complete his UniSA degree in November.
‘‘ I got retrenched and the wine industry was in a bad way so there were no opportunities to get back into the industry,’’ he says.
OPPORTUNITY: Winemaker Mark Murray is now studying IT.