Aspiring students Rebekah Ljubijankic, 32, Dan Horton, 27 and Andrea Maher, 37 at CQU.
Aspiring students Rebekah Ljubijankic, 32, Dan Horton, 27 and Andrea Maher, 37 at CQU. Nicky Moffat

Record number of people start first steps into study

INSPIRED to give uni a go, a record number of people attended orientation day on Wednesday for a CQUniversity bridging course that will help them make the transition from parenting, small business and other areas to study.

The STEPS program sets coursework in areas such as study skills and aims to help people who haven't finished high school, or who will use prior learning to gain entry, the confidence and skills they need to start a university career.

Rebekah Ljubijankic, 32, is one of more than 30 students enrolled this year.

A mother of three and self-employed professional hairdresser, she decided to become a paramedic after her family suffered losses from traumatic events.

"I was a volunteer senior first aider at Turkey Beach and found it really empowering," she said.

"What I experienced was life changing and I'd just love to make that difference in other peoples' lives."

Ms Ljubijankic was nervous before she sat the entry exam on Tuesday but was determined to get through it so she could start her course.

"I would be lost, there's no way possible I'd be able to do this science degree without this help," she said.

More on what the students had to say

Dan Horton

"I left school in Grade 11 to become a carpenter. Then at 18 I had a motorbike accident. Since then I've been working as a teacher aid, but thought I'd get into study so I can have a long-term job.

"My sister is a solicitor so seeing her study was scary but then watching her graduate, I'd like to have that feeling of accomplishment."

Rebekah Ljubijankic

"I didn't go to uni out of high school because I didn't know what I wanted to study and I didn't find there were enough options."

Andrea Maher

"I haven't studied for years but am going to do a Bachelor of Paramedical Science. I'm a mother of two, live in Boyne Island, and also have my own hairdressing business. If I pass the STEPS course it's a guarantee I'll get into my bachelor degree. My family has had a lot of traumatic situations, including the loss of my brother, and my sister and I being involved in a car accident. Being a paramedic will help me make a difference in other peoples' lives."