Internship leads stylist to creative career change - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Internship leads stylist to creative career change

6 Oct 2020

A University Medal from USC and a marketing career found in her home town of Gympie have completed a stunning transformation for former hairstylist Tiffany Stevenson.

Tiffany has just completed a Business degree and gained work immediately as a graduate marketing officer with AgSolutions Australia, a prominent manufacturer of soil and livestock nutrition supplements that had provided Tiffany with her final-semester internship.

“USC’s work placement opportunity was excellent because it allowed me to exhibit my marketing and business capabilities in a professional working environment, resulting in a position being made for me where there originally was none,” she said.

“Gympie is a relatively small town, so I was thrilled to find an opportunity where I could gain real-world experience in a field of interest that I had become increasingly passionate about. To land a job in the current economic climate was an achievement in itself.”

Before enrolling at USC, Tiffany had worked as a hairstylist across Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, and for a short while in London, England. Being a mother to three young children, she chose to complete her studies at USC Gympie because it offered her the opportunity to gain a degree while meeting her parental obligations.

“Choosing to study at USC Gympie was a no-brainer,” Tiffany said. “But my real motivation was bridging the motherhood gap in my working history to ensure I could gain employment on the other side of raising my children.

“I decided it was necessary to ramp up my skills and venture into a new role that would offer more flexibility and a higher income.

“I’ve always been interested in business and originally enrolled at USC to complete a Major in Management and Accounting. But being a ‘creative’, I quickly realised number-crunching was not for me and became interested in Marketing, which I developed a passion for.”

Tiffany thanked her lecturers, including Dr Rory Mulcahy, Dr Aimee Riedel, Dr Wendy Spinks and Luke Hawley, and her family and friends for their ongoing encouragement and support during her degree.

She said this enabled her to focus on her studies and achieve a near-perfect grade point average of 6.91 (out of a possible 7) and the University Medal, which is USC’s highest academic honour.

“I worked hard to get the results I achieved, and it feels great to be receiving the University Medal and gaining employment at AgSolutions Australia on my own merits,” she said.

Tiffany is now applying the skills and knowledge gained during her studies as part of a team at AgSolutions and practices all facets of marketing, including market research and strategy, content creation, social media, graphic design and website development.

“It’s a multi-skilled role and I am fortunate to be working alongside people and under a leadership team willing to invest in professional development and continual improvement,” she said.

AgSolutions CEO Julie Williams said USC’s internship program offered a mutually beneficial opportunity for both students and businesses.

“Being a former student myself, I understand the value of gaining real-world experience in a professional working environment and can appreciate the fresh-eyed perspective students often bring to businesses,” she said.

“Tiffany brought with her an array of talents and capabilities that made me appreciate the calibre of students USC Gympie was producing.”

Mrs Williams said AgSolutions was now prepared to take on further USC interns who are studying business, agriculture, engineering, information technology and other programs.

“Tiffany’s dedication and professionalism made her an asset to our team, so at the end of her internship I created a role that would allow her to utilise her degree and meet her parental obligations,” she said.

“It remains a positive experience having Tiffany onboard and I encourage all businesses in Gympie to embrace such opportunities through USC.”

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