Get Smart

With companies reluctant to invest in new employees until economic recovery begins, now is the time to invest in education to up-skill your competitive edge.

AS additional tertiary qualifications become more essential to corporate success, a federal report released last month shows the largest increase in university applications in eight years.

SuperGP marketing coordinator and former Griffith Business School graduate Tayah Bot, says university studies can offer more than just a bachelor degree if students use the full potential of the learning experience.

“The work experience and internship opportunities that are available through university can really help to make you stand out from the other graduates,” she says.

“Learning how to approach challenging assignments that put you out of your comfort zone, effectively getting a job done and interacting with different people are all invaluable life skills taught at uni.”

Having secured a role with one of the Gold Coast’s premier sporting events only two years after graduating, Bot is putting her education to practical use in a challenging environment.

“It would have been very difficult securing the position with the SuperGP without tertiary qualifications, especially in the current economic climate,” she says.

Federal Minister for Education Julia Gillard announced last month that university applications have grown by 5.6 per cent this year — the largest increase since 2002.

People of all ages and background are encouraged to consider tertiary education as part of the Rudd Government’s ‘Education Revolution’.

A vital part of the $16.2 billion, three year investment to build the scheme is working to increase the proportion of 25-34 year-old Australians with bachelor level qualifications to eventually reach 40 per cent by 2025.

Southport’s Institute of Business Leaders CEO Jevena O’Brien, who holds various tertiary business qualifications, says mature-age students especially can benefit from undergoing further tertiary education.

“Research skills are among the most important practical skills learnt in tertiary education,” she says.

“The ability to look something up in a book to refer yourself to further information is invaluable.’

As a former lecturer at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus, O’Brien believes anyone can undertake further study.

“Many mature age students struggle with self-confidence but once they get past the first hurdle they realise they can really achieve anything,” she says.

For Ray White Surfers Paradise employee Glenn Cream, studying his masters of business administration (MBA) at Southern Cross University while working in management has bolstered his career prospects.

“Studying an MBA definitely is a big step ahead if you’re going for any role in upper management,” says Cream.

Cream says university is not the only option to continue up-skilling throughout your career and encourages anyone to undergo any type of further learning.

With various organisations in Queensland dedicated to producing a workforce of higher-educated Australians, Gold Coast Business News profiles some of the best places to get smarter in the South East.

THE Australian Technical College (ATC) Gold Coast is close to completing its transformation into Queensland’s premier technical college with new branding.

By the end of the year, the ATC will become the Australian Industry Trade College. Commencing operations in 2008, it has been the aim of the college to present industry with young people whose education and skills matches other apprentices.

“Industry is genuinely impressed by the calibre of our young people, their motivation to succeed in their chosen trade and their eagerness to learn proves that this model of education works,” says CEO Mark Hands.

The college has placed 898 students in work experience since setting up in its temporary home at Reedy Creek last year and there are now 580 employers working with it. In addition to the re-branding of the institution, the Australian Technical College is undertaking a $10 million relocation to purpose-built facilities at Robina.

Developer Alder Constructions has set a completion date for next January – one month prior to the first student intake of 300 across grades 11 and 12.

The land was bought from Robina Land Corp for around $5.5 million.

Designed by Amy Degenhart of Design Forum, the project has approval for seven storeys in accordance with the Robina Town Plan.

The relocation and rebranding will make the ATC the most modern and advanced technical college in Australia, further cementing the Gold Coast’s claim as having the fastest growing education sector in the nation.

GRIFFITH Business School’s MBA has been awarded a five star rating for the eighth consecutive year by the Graduate Management Association of Australia (GMAA).

The only MBA in Queensland and one of only two in Australia to boast such an achievement, the announcement highlights the quality, rigour and relevance of the program.

A sustainable enterprise specialisation was introduced this year into the MBA, with triple bottom line concepts of corporate social responsibility and financial sustainability key elements within the curriculum.

MBA director Dr Paul O’Brien says the rating highlights the fact that MBA programs that incorporate responsible management principles are the future.

“Griffith Business School was the first business school in Australia to sign the United Nations principles of responsible management education agreement and is aggressively implementing these principles,” says O’Brien.

“Great leaders have long-term vision that enables them to steer their organisations in the right direction for success – that’s what we instil in our MBA graduates.

“Incorporating sustainability and social responsibility into business decision making can only have a positive effect on the long-term success of any business.”

The Griffith MBA has a people, planet and profit focus that paves the way for a career of distinction.

The new sustainable enterprise specialisation, introduced second semester this year, joins nine other specialties including financial planning, human resource management and international business.

“Concerns over climate change, global warming, climate change and widespread environmental degradation indicate how important it is for business leaders to be prepared for this new environment,” says O’Brien.

“This specialisation aims to create the next generation of business leaders by providing a framework for understanding the challenges and opportunities for the future,” he says.

“Students will learn how to manage business while creating a positive change in society.”

SOUTHERN Cross University’s (SCU) Graduate College of Management has a range of study options to help people change their career direction, boost their chances of promotion or simply upgrade their qualifications.

The college offers postgraduate courses including the master of business administration, master of professional accounting and master of human resources and organisational development, and the doctor of business administration.

Professor Ian Eddie of the Faculty of Business and Law says SCU is one of the largest education providers for business courses and provides a range of flexible delivery options.

“We provide diverse learning materials and combine professional relevance and academic quality with convenience, flexibility and timeliness,” he says.

A recent graduate of a master in professional accounting and master in business administration, Monica Nagpal, came from India to complete her studies at the SCU Riverside campus in Tweed Heads.

“The course was hard work but in the end I really feel I have benefited a lot because the skills I have learned are so applicable to the real world,” Nagpal says.

Eddie says the MBA, DBA and a range of specialist masters courses could be studied by distance, intensive mode or on campus.

A feature of the DBA is the bi-annual Doctoral Symposium, which gives students from around the world the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas.

As well as providing a range of courses, the college is also working closely with business and industry in the Tweed and Gold Coast region.

It hosts a regular business insights seminar, with guest speakers providing information on topics ranging from the global economic crisis to corporate governance issues, as well as the opportunity to network with business colleagues.

GOLD Coast Institute of TAFE (GCIT) is part of the TAFE Queensland network – the largest provider of world-class vocational education and training in Queensland.

As a government education facility, it offers students the ability to develop practical skills through nationally recognised courses.

It is the largest in the region with five campuses and enrolments of more than 16,000 students annually and provides the benefits of internationally competitive education and training in a safe, attractive and culturally diverse environment.

Recognised for excellent training, world class facilities and professional tuition, students can assure that the education they receive at GCIT is a strong base from which to launch their future.

Its graduates are in demand and employed by companies around the world due to the practical, ‘real world’ approach.

GCIT offers many options for learning that range from face to face delivery, online and ‘blended’ which may be a combination of video conferencing, on line chat rooms and forums and any combination that suits the individual.

These training options allow students to complete their chosen training in the timeframe they choose.

Skills sets identified to up-skill employees are designed and delivered onsite for business and industry.

While studying at GCIT, students enjoy a quality learning experience in one of the world’s premier locations.

The Gold Coast is more than just a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

It offers a friendly, relaxed yet cosmopolitan outdoor lifestyle with some of the most beautiful beaches and rainforests imaginable.

With clean, fresh, unspoiled countryside and waterways, the Gold Coast is unlike any other place in the world and offers everything to make a student lifestyle absolutely perfect.

It is committed to producing highly skilled graduates who make a positive difference.

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