Ma­ture path­way into univer­sity

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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.

KEY DATES

Oc­to­ber 31:

De­cem­ber 3:

OP­POR­TU­NITY: Wine­maker Mark Mur­ray is now study­ing IT.

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