USC will introduce a full degree in Social Work at its Fraser Coast campus from Semester 1 next year.
USC is working with representatives from local government and Fraser Coast agencies involved in community and mental health and front-line health services to tackle a shortage of social workers and help find solutions to local issues such as high youth suicide rates.
Head of USC’s School of Social Sciences Professor Ken Greenwood said USC believed it could help the Fraser Coast by delivering a flexible, full Social Work degree at the local campus.
“We want to train local people from the region, with placements in the region, to serve the needs of the region,” Professor Greenwood said.
He said USC would partner with Fraser Coast agencies to sources teachers, placements and internships for students and to conduct collaborative research to find solutions to regional issues, such as suicide.
“We were overwhelmed by the interest and support shown by the local allied health industry and Fraser Coast Regional Council,” he said.
“Social work appeals to students coming directly from school, but also mature-aged students who bring life experience and diverse backgrounds to the role,” he said.
Since 2017, students have been able to complete the first-year of the four-year Social Work degree at USC Fraser Coast, with the remaining subjects provided at the University’s Sunshine Coast campus.
“This arrangement may not have suited those who are unable to relocate to complete the degree due to work and family commitments,” Professor Greenwood said.
From 2020, USC will offer the first and second year of the program at the campus in Hervey Bay, rolling out third year in 2021 and fourth year in 2022.
“People with a desire to help others and improve mental health and wellbeing in the community, and who are seeking a challenging, rewarding career, should consider becoming a social worker,” Professor Greenwood said.
“We particularly value life experience, making it an ideal profession for a range of people from mothers to motor mechanics who might be looking for a total career change.”
USC provides tertiary preparation programs and support services to assist people who may have not finished high school, or have not studied for several years, reach their academic and career goals.
USC’s Social Work degree integrates learning with practical workplace experience in fields including health and mental health, child protection and disability, with graduates finding diverse employment opportunities locally and internationally.
Professor Greenwood said if the rollout of the full Social Work degree was successful, USC would aim to also expand its programs in Psychology and Counselling, which are currently only offered as first-year subjects at Fraser Coast.
For details on how to apply to USC go to www.usc.edu.au
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