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USQ graduates hit the road for Charleville psychology placements

Taking the road less travelled...

Two University of Southern Queensland postgraduate psychology students have arrived in Charleville after being offered a chance to expand their training with intensive rural placements.

Alana Batch and Justin Ong were selected to take part in the Southern Queensland Rural Health supported program, which will see them join two well-respected health services for the next three months.

Ms Batch will be expanding her knowledge of community health by taking on a position at the Charleville and Western Areas Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Community Health centre (CWAATSICH), while Mr Ong will be getting hands-on experience at Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Qld.

The opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time, according to Ms Batch.

“Given the restricted movements and the impacts of COVID-19, the community has seen an increase in concerns surrounding social and emotional wellbeing,” Ms Batch said.

“I’m pleased to be able to work alongside the First Nations people and others in the community to offer my assistance.”

As part of the service, Ms Batch will be called on to provide therapy and support to people living in the region.

“I love getting to know and interacting with others, while also combining my knowledge and understanding of psychology and science,” she said.

“I was interested in the Master of Clinical Psychology program at USQ because of the opportunity for education and practical experiences in regional and rural areas.

“So when the possibility of partnering with CWAATSICH appeared I knew I had to apply as this was an invaluable experience to be a part of.

“Now I’m looking forward to this adventure, meeting new people and getting amongst the community.”

Mr Ong was equally excited for his placement with Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Qld, where he will be taking on a psychologist role.

“It’s an amazing opportunity - without it I think it would have been hard to take that leap of faith and head out there,” Mr Ong said.

“The role I will be taking on is one of a number of pioneering roles with the Charleville service. I will be getting a lay of the land and looking at the different mental health presentations out there.”

Mr Ong said his time at the University of Southern Queensland was a world away from his previous role in Malaysia.

“I felt I wasn’t deriving as much meaning and value from that line of work as I thought I would,” Mr Ong said.

“Now that I have left the corporate world, I feel validated when I see my clients doing well and achieving great outcomes.”

Interested in pursuing a career in psychology? The University of Southern Queensland’s Bachelor of Science (majoring in psychology) enables you to combine your passion for human behaviour with the chance to study in the areas of human resource management, counselling and behaviour management.

women in field outside workplace
Alana Batch and Justin Ong were selected to take part in the Southern Queensland Rural Health supported program, which will see them join two well-respected health services for the next three months.