University of the Sunshine Coast graduate Craig Maunder thrives on the fact that each day of his chosen career is unscripted.
Having spent his mid-20s travelling the world, Craig found it difficult to slot back into the rigidity of an office job when he returned to Australia.
That’s when he decided upon a course of action that completely changed his life – studying a Bachelor of Paramedicine at UniSC.
“As a paramedic, I go to work in the morning and I might get called out to the beach, or to a farm, or to a nursing home. I never know,” explains Craig.
“I enjoy that variety and obviously it is super rewarding being able to help people in their time of need.
“Most times the people I deal with are super grateful, even though I might not have done that much … just been there to support them or transport them to where they needed to go.
“Of course, there is the flipside and every now and then I get a challenging job, where I have to act quickly and think on my feet, but that has its own appeal too.”
Originally, Craig studied commerce at university fresh out of Caloundra State High, only to discover the financial world and working indoors were not his favoured environment.
He took a career break and went “chasing the snow” around the world, spending extended time working in Canada’s ski fields in particular.
The more he mulled over his options when he came back to Australia, the more he became convinced that paramedicine was a fitting option.
“Work-life balance is a massive priority for me, and being a paramedic, I regularly get five days in a row off and am entitled to six weeks annual leave,” Craig says.
“You do perform some long days, but I think the time you get off either side counteracts that, plus the industry really prioritises mental health and there are different avenues available for support.
“If I am rostered on a night shift, I’ll still make sure I go surfing or fishing during the day, so it feels like I’ve had time to myself.
“And with the five days off in a row, I could realistically go camping each time if I wanted to.”
Now one year into his career, Craig has had to move around for opportunities, but received an exciting introduction to his new hometown of Brewarrina – flown in amid flooding to help assist the community.
He admits he will find it difficult being further away from the ocean after previous postings in Mackay, Sydney and Ballina, but feels prepared to make the sacrifices necessary.
Craig believes one of the best things he did during university was to form a friendship with someone already working as a paramedic on a daily basis.
“Going back to university at 27 or 28 was a big decision, especially when I couldn’t work full-time, so I needed to be certain about what I was entering into,” Craig says.
“A contact put me in touch with a practicing paramedic, and we went to lunch and spoke about the daily schedule and what life would be like.
“The more we spoke, the more I realised it was ticking a lot of boxes for me.
“At the same time, having a mentor who was adding positive reinforcement and saying ‘yeah, you can do this’ made a big difference.”
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