11 November 2014
For USC graduate Gillian Gardiner, teaching in the outback town of Cloncurry is a long way from the coast, but even further away from her previous career as an air traffic controller.
Gillian, 49, emigrated from South Africa 12 years ago but found that her qualifications were not recognised in Australia. After trying several jobs, Gillian decided to gain the qualifications she needed to launch a new career.
“After speaking with a careers adviser at USC I chose to study a combined Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education, which gives me great scope,” she said.
“My gap year was 27 years so I did the Tertiary Preparation Pathway (USC’s tertiary bridging program) before my degree, which was a great learning experience.”
Gillian completed her study at USC last year and immediately secured the job at Cloncurry State School. Cloncurry has a population of about 3,000 and is 120km east of Mt Isa.
“I did my final prac at Cloncurry and loved it,” she said. “So when I heard there was a job opportunity I jumped at it. I love living in a small, friendly town.
“When I arrived here on prac last year I went to buy something at the Vinnie’s store on the Friday and by Sunday I was on the church roster.
“The school has around 330 students in Prep to Year 12 and I think being in a smaller school means I get loads more support from my colleagues. I also get to fit in and do all sorts of activities around the school that you wouldn’t get to experience in a bigger school.”
Gillian teaches Business and Health & Physical Education to high school students, does literacy activities with Prep to Year 4, and was recently an assistant stage manager for the school musical.
This high level of involvement is nothing new to Gillian who, during her time at USC, had worked part-time at the University’s library and as a mentor to other students.
— Jane Cameron