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VC and Chancellor in academic dress, with two men
USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas, Mr Kevin Gates, Heritage CEO Mr Peter Lock, USQ Chancellor John Dornbusch
A partnership launched in 2013 to give Heritage Bank employees access to business and management programs at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has delivered its first graduate.

Mr Kevin Gates was one of about 500 students to be honoured at the first of USQ Toowoomba’s 2016 Autumn Graduation Ceremonies last week (April 1).

As Heritage Bank’s Senior Regional Sales and Service Manager for Darling Downs, Mr Gates said what he had learnt through the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) had significantly boosted his professional and personal development.

“As Senior Regional Sales and Service Manager, I help look after a team of 100 people. The MBA has provided skillsets that has already advanced me as a leader,” Mr Gates said.

“My experience of USQ was that it was enjoyable, very supportive and professional - I couldn’t fault it.

“It has allowed me to take on tasks that I wouldn’t have done before. A range of opportunities were opened up to me as a result of having done the course. It’s been fantastic.”

Under the rolling USQ-Heritage Pathways partnership, 51 of Heritage Bank’s 850 staff are currently studying as undergraduates or for an MBA through USQ.

“It’s an exciting time for both USQ and Heritage Bank as we’re now seeing the benefits of a locally planned articulation pathway into university for highly experienced professionals,” USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said.

Heritage CEO Mr Peter Lock said the partnership with USQ was a fantastic way to help staff members sharpen their skills and improve their qualifications.

“At Heritage, we’re passionate about helping people, and that applies just as much to our staff members as it does to our customers and our communities,” Mr Lock said.

“The Pathways partnership with USQ gives our staff members a huge benefit.

“It’s a highly effective way for them to enhance their skills and gain a qualification. That’s very beneficial to them personally, and Heritage also gains a benefit through the extra skills and learnings they bring with them.”

The agreement allows Heritage staff to study at USQ for Bachelor degrees in Business, Commerce or Business Administration, or related diplomas or associate diplomas.

Those with 10 years’ relevant work experience can apply to study an MBA through USQ’s School of Management and Enterprise, which placed fifth in the most recent Australian Financial Review BOSS rankings.

Heritage is a Registered Training Organisation, and runs four nationally recognised programs for qualifications. Staff which have completed those can use prior recognition for units within their study courses.

To learn more about studying a MBA at USQ, visit

More information about USQ graduations can be found at