WORK EDGE: CQUniversity graduate Emily Weatherall says her CQU qualification has given her an edge over many others.
WORK EDGE: CQUniversity graduate Emily Weatherall says her CQU qualification has given her an edge over many others. Paul Braven GLAEMLY

CQUni graduates have edge in job market

NEW figures show university students are finding it tougher to get a job - but CQUniversity graduates are beating the pack to find full-time work.

Studying environmental science with CQUniversity was a last-minute decision for Gladstone's Emily Weatherall, but in just three years, it's already delivered a job that she loves.

The lifelong local chose the program while completing year 12 at Chanel College.

"I had always enjoyed science and knew I wanted to stay in Gladstone to study, so it seemed like a good choice," she said.

In her final year, 20-year-old Emily completed a summer scholarship with the Gladstone Environmental Science Centre at CQUniversity Gladstone Marina, monitoring seagrass in Port Curtis.

The practical experience proved a boost, and Emily secured a graduate role at global consultancy RPS Australia East as soon as she graduated in 2014.

"Although I'm only employed casually it's given me a foot in the door and priceless experience," she said.

"I definitely feel like I got a job quickly. A lot of my high school friends have graduated and are still searching for work, or in a job that isn't really what they want."

Emily said that without a qualification she'd be like friends of hers, jobless.

"I'd always wanted to get qualified, and it really shapes the career you end up with. I plan now to climb the ladder," she said.

"The only reason I got this job was through an internal lab email that requested a university graduate. It wasn't even advertised.

"I've got friends that moved to Brisbane that are studying social and veterinary science and they haven't even got a job yet."

CQUniversity's graduates had an overall full-time employment rate of 79.8% in 2013, more than 10 points above the national average of 68.1%.

While graduates across Australia saw a dip in job opportunities, down from 71.3% in 2013, and 76.1% in 2012, CQUniversity graduates have grown their lead on the national figure, with jobs in industry leading the charge.

CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said the figures were testament to CQUniversity's commitment to connecting students to jobs before they had graduated.

"CQUniversity has worked closely with the biggest employers in central Queensland, and across Australia, to secure our students work placements as part of their learning," he said.

As many school-leavers consider their study options for this year, Prof Bowman said identifying options for practical experience, and future job opportunities, was important.

"Jobs in sectors such as allied health, mechatronic engineering, asset maintenance, even child care and beauty - these are specialised roles, and these sorts of opportunities are growing as central Queensland changes," he said.

CQUniversity's five most popular degree programs for 2015:

  • Nursing
  • Paramedic Science
  • Engineering
  • Sonography
  • Education