5 November 2019
A simple desire to help has inspired new USC graduate Michael Pekin to seek a career supporting young people and assisting others with significant or permanent disabilities.
Michael, 29, from Hervey Bay graduated from USC with a Bachelor of Human Services at a ceremony in Hervey Bay last month and is working locally in disability and child safety support services.
“Whether it is helping people with a disability to live an ordinary life or assisting youths to access vital support for mental health and other issues, I simply want to help those in need,” the former retail worker said.
Michael was among the first students to enrol in the Bachelor of Human Services when USC first offered the three-year degree through its Fraser Coast campus in 2016.
“Now I have graduated, I am enjoying applying my academic knowledge and expanding my skills and experience as I work to create positive benefits for individuals, families and carers,” he said.
“I am finding the communication skills I gained, combined with the relevant theory, has given me a significant advantage in the workplace.”
Head of USC’s School of Social Sciences Professor Ken Greenwood said the Human Services degree was designed to assist students gain careers in areas such as community development, welfare, youth, family support and disability services.
“The health and community services sector is one of the fastest growing in Australia and, with the rollout of the new National Disability Insurance Scheme, human services professionals are in demand,” Professor Greenwood said.
USC students are required to complete two separate field placements in human services agencies during the degree, providing a total of 500 hours of practical experience.
Michael said he knew he had chosen the right career path the moment he began his first work placement at Headspace, a national non-profit organisation providing mental health services for young Australians.
“Working to support young people get back on track and access and engage with mental health support is now one of my major career goals,” he said.
Michael said he chose to study at USC Fraser Coast because it provided the opportunity to complete a full university degree while remaining in Hervey Bay.
“My main highlight of my studies was the fun of working in groups and I was fortunate enough to become close with other students throughout the entire degree.”
Applications are open to study at USC next year.
— Clare McKay