CQUniversity Mackay graduate Melissa Parter is now working as a mental health clinician and social worker with Queensland Health's mental health division. Picture: Heidi Petith
CQUniversity Mackay graduate Melissa Parter is now working as a mental health clinician and social worker with Queensland Health's mental health division. Picture: Heidi Petith

CQUni in top 5 QLD universities for graduate employment

GRADUATES from regional universities are more likely to land a job than those from prestigious "sandstone" institutions.

CQUniversity ranked fourth among Queensland's 10 universities with 73 per cent of graduates finding work within four months of finishing their degree, exclusive new data obtained by News Corp Australia reveals.

It also came in 11th place nationally with better graduate employment outcomes compared to 32 other Australian universities.

CQUniversity Mackay graduate Melissa Parter landed the first job she applied for during her final week of studying a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours).

Melissa Parter and her two children, Rikki Parter and Ruby Parter, on the day she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) from CQUniversity. Picture: Contributed
Melissa Parter and her two children, Rikki Parter and Ruby Parter, on the day she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) from CQUniversity. Picture: Contributed

The single mother of two said her degree "definitely" prepared her to join Queensland Health's Division of Mental Health and would allow her to keep achieving career goals.

"I come from a meat industry and labourer background - that has typically been my history of employment; and logistics, so freight, truck driving and supervisor roles," the mental health clinician and social worker said.

"When I had my second child … that was the turning point of when I decided to study and really focus on my passion on wanting to be a social worker."

Melissa Parter on the day she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) from CQUniversity. Picture: Contributed
Melissa Parter on the day she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) from CQUniversity. Picture: Contributed

Ms Parter, who identifies as Aboriginal and Australian South Sea Islander, said she chose CQUniversity because they were local, had a good program and offered cultural support and one-on-one tutoring.

"That was something that really did motivate me and supported me to complete my studies."

CQUniversity Mackay graduate Melissa Parter now works as a mental health clinician and social worker with Queensland Health's mental health division. Picture: Heidi Petith
CQUniversity Mackay graduate Melissa Parter now works as a mental health clinician and social worker with Queensland Health's mental health division. Picture: Heidi Petith

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CQUniversity vice-chancellor and president Professor Nick Klomp said they prided themselves on "excellent" graduate outcomes.

"We change lives by creating highly employable graduates with the skills, experience and expertise to take on the roles of the future," Professor Klomp said.

"We are also delivering courses that directly meet skill demands, particularly in regional Australia (like) allied health, engineering (and) education.

"It is also very pleasing to see so many regional universities ranking highly, which again proves that you don't need to move out of the regions to gain a quality education and subsequent employment."

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Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said COVID-19 had majorly impacted graduate employment in 2020 with the government spending $550 million to fund up to 30,000 extra university places next year as well as short courses so AUstralians could upskill.

The Education Department commissioned survey revealed graduates from regional universities had fared better during the downturn, in part due to them likely being older, having completed vocational degrees, and because of their "continuing connection with the labour market".

Fellow regional university James Cook University, which also has a campus in Mackay, also fared well for graduate employment outcomes, coming in at second place for the state and sixth nationally.

Almost 76 per cent of JCU graduates found employment within four months of finishing their degrees.



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