Work experience: Ideal preparation for postgraduate study

Both Peter and Matthew are QUT alumni who have successfully used their work experience to gain entry and excel in their respective Graduate Certificate courses.

From unique work backgrounds to postgraduate study with QUT Online

A strong academic record isn’t the only way to begin postgraduate study. At QUT we understand that people bring a wealth of work and life experience into their study, which is why many QUT Online courses provide a work experience entry pathway.

Peter and Matthew are two recent graduates, both of whom come from unique professional backgrounds, bringing significant strengths and perspectives into their university study.

Peter (pictured left), ‘raised on a cattle property, ‘discontinued schooling at 14 years old’, and went on to make a good living in the civil construction Industry. After managing his own company for 25 years, Peter’s son fell very ill, and this was when Peter decided he needed a change as he was ‘physically and mentally exhausted’. Gaining entry into the Graduate Certificate in Project Management – in recognition of his extensive professional experience – he was able to continue building his skills and knowledge to assist current and future clients.

Matthew (pictured right) has a similar story. As a long-time volunteer and professional firefighter for the NSW Rural Fire Service, he has also previously worked for the NSW Police for four-and-a-half years. With strong expertise in working for the police, firefighting services and in emergency and disaster management, he qualified for work experience entry into the Graduate Certificate in Emergency and Disaster Management. Matthew sought a qualification that would help him excel and advance his career prospects, as he knew his practical experience would only ‘get him so far on his current career path’.


The advantages of using your practical background for study:

Both Peter and Matthew expressed that using their hands-on experience held them in good stead during their postgraduate study. Although neither had attended a university previously, they both knew they had a wealth of diverse professional skills and knowledge to draw upon.

At first Peter was not confident that he would be accepted during the enrolment process, as he had ‘little education’. However, once he commenced study, he discovered that the extensive work experience that gained him entry into the course proved to be a phenomenal asset. He knew a fantastic amount about the Project Management industry, and ‘gained many new skills through research and collaborating with QUT Lecturers’.

Matthew, meanwhile, was confident he would be accepted within the course as he had many years of various work experience across the field of emergency and disaster management. While keen to develop a more in-depth knowledge, Matthew claimed that ‘the advantage of having the work experience is that you know the subject matter’.


Advice for applicants in a similar position:

Matthew and Peter both agree that the support from QUT Online was tremendous. This support came from both staff and other students within the course when completing group tasks and projects.

The group study allowed them to learn from their classmates, and generate ideas through collaboration that may otherwise may not have been possible.

The advice from both Alumni is if you have experience in a field, and are wishing to deepen your understanding and gather new insights, then ‘go for it’.

Are you interested in finding out if you are eligible for your course with your work experience? Have a chat with our Course Consultants on 1300 104 196, Monday–Friday 8am–4pm Brisbane time, and find out about the opportunities that await you.

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