Students flock to revamped course in asset management

CQUNIVERSITY has welcomed a record number of students to its asset maintenance and management suite of programs, developed in collaboration with industry.

CQU's Dr Subhash Sharma said 298 students from around Queensland enrolled in the program, which is based at the Gladstone campus.

"One of our unique selling points is that someone with five years' experience in a trade position can apply for entry to our postgraduate program without doing an undergraduate degree," he said.

"We value on-the-job knowledge. The courses have no exams and are purely based on workplace-based assignments and mini- projects."

A panel of industry stakeholders and academics explained the history and significance of the course and fielded student questions.

Industry stalwart and NRG Gladstone Power Station general manager, John Abbott, was involved in the redevelopment of the course.

"What we found when we did a bit of investigation is that of none of the engineering courses had any content on asset management and maintenance management," he said.

"We also found that nearly 80% of those in leadership positions in maintenance and asset management were not engineers.

"That was the key thing. As a result of that we developed a series of courses that were quite unique because they allowed a postgraduate (qualification) for people with recognition of prior learning."

All students enrolled in the programs study by distance, which allows them to continue full-time work while studying.

CQU's Dr Fae Martin said teaching skills in asset maintenance and management would help address a shortage in the area.

"A lot of the capital is tied up in infrastructure and equipment, so it's really important to protect those assets. If buildings are left to deteriorate then it leaves you with a big cost to replace it all," she said.

"It is very exciting. The program is one of the strengths in our engineering program and we've been proud of it for a long time.

"It'll hopefully see us through this next 20 years."

CQU student Matthew Pfeiffer at the launch of the re-badged Graduate Certificate in Asset and Maintinance Management at Gladstone.
CQU student Matthew Pfeiffer at the launch of the re-badged Graduate Certificate in Asset and Maintinance Management at Gladstone. Luka Kauzlaric

Boyne Smelter technician starts course with eye on the future

BOYNE Smelter equipment technician Matthew Pfeiffer is one of four Gladstone residents who started their asset maintenance and management studies at CQUniversity on Tuesday.

Mr Pfeiffer said he was juggling full-time work with family commitments, but was making time to study because it would help him progress in his company.

If an opportunity came along in asset management and maintenance, he'd like to be able to step up.

"I've got a goal to complete the Graduate Certificate first and then I'll look at moving forward with the next step, a diploma."

He said a lot of the machinery he worked with was quite new and maintenance programs were still in development, which meant skills in asset maintenance and management may be in demand in the future.

Mr Pfeiffer has lived in Gladstone for six years and enjoys his work and lifestyle.

"The smelter was more than accommodating and it seemed to be a really good family life mix, which was really important for me at the time, and for my wife, as we had two small kids," he said.

"It's been a good place to work ... It's been a good place to work and they support me 100% through the bettering of myself and development of my skills."

Industry stakeholders involved in the latest redevelopment:

  • NRG
  • Yarrabee Coal Mine
  • Covaris Australia
  • CSL Behring
  • Citic Pacific Mining