Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) student Melanie Llewellyn is proof positive you can change the direction of your life at any time with hard work and discipline.
The mature aged student from Brassall recently graduated (12 May) with outstanding results including First Class Honours, the University Medal and the Early Childhood Teachers’ Association Prize and has already been offered a permanent position with Education Queensland as a Prep teacher at Carole Park State School.
Ms Llewellyn was one of the first students to undertake the new Early Childhood specialisation at Springfield campus in 2009 after completing education courses including the Diploma of Children’s Services through Bremer TAFE where she was nominated for the Queensland Training Awards in 2008 and won the South West Regional Vocational Student of the Year.
Ms Llewellyn said she made the decision to work towards completing a university degree in early childhood education while still studying at TAFE, but wasn't sure which university to apply to.
'I had been working as a Teacher Aide at St Mary's Primary School in Ipswich and was speaking to a Prep teacher there who suggested I look into all of my options before deciding,' Ms Llewellyn said.
'When I contacted USQ, I found out they were beginning the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) for the first time and my previous TAFE studies gave me the necessary prerequisites to gain entry.
'As I lived in Brassall it was also great to find out the program would be offered at the Springfield campus.'
Ms Llewellyn said she chose to study early childhood as she particularly loved to teach younger age groups.
'I love the way they look at the world, they can solve anything with cardboard and sticky tape. I find this group so honest and interesting. You get to see everything again through their eyes and experience their excitement and enthusiasm.'
Ms Llewellyn said she had always wanted to become a preschool teacher, but wasn't focussed at high school and didn't obtain the marks necessary.
'It was different as a mature aged student, as I was focussed on my studies and found myself to be a high achiever.
'I have had a complete change of career focus from before I began studying. I have worked in the past as a property manager and in retail while raising my family. I found myself at a point where I was looking for something new to do with my life.'
Melanie said having not studied for many years, the path through TAFE studies was a great way to ease back into academic life.
'It gave me the confidence I needed in my own abilities to continue onto university.
'I chose USQ because of the friendly environment, everyone was so helpful and they truly bent over backwards to help me there.
'From day one when I first set foot on Springfield campus I felt like I was coming home.'
Dean of the Faculty of Education and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Partnerships) Professor Nita Temmerman said TAFE was just one of the pathways to university studies available to potential USQ students.
'As Melanie has proven, if you don't have the required qualifications or experience to get into the university program of your choice, or if you just want to boost your QTAC ranking there are options,' Professor Temmerman said.
'The USQ Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP) can also help develop the skills you need.
'Then, when you successfully complete the program, you are guaranteed entry into USQ undergraduate programs.
'I congratulate Melanie on her success and know the students she will be teaching in the future will also reap the rewards of her hard work and determination to succeed.'
Jo-Ann Sparrow, USQ Media
, +61 7 3470 4119 or 0438 309 096
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