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Mum swaps sales for study to help young people

Posted: 7am 23 Oct 2021

Stints as a foster carer prompted Morayfield mother-of-three Rebecca Patterson to reassess her career options and start studying at USC Moreton Bay.

Ms Patterson, 41, who had worked in sales for 20 years, said her experience of fostering two children led her to look for a career that could help improve children’s lives.

“I got into Social Work because I felt like I should be helping people, which my peers said I do well,” she said.

Big switch

Despite doubting her ability to study after leaving school after Year 10, Ms Patterson said she had adapted well since starting a four-year Bachelor of Social Work degree in mid-2020.

“I hadn’t studied before – I had just worked,” she said. “University was a big switch, however it’s great. I really love it actually and you get out of it what you put in.”

“Self-doubt is a serious issue these days, so I suggest if you have been thinking about a change, or that study seems too daunting, please go out and try - give it a go for you.”

Perfect link

Ms Patterson said her current work as a part-time disability support worker was a perfect link to her goal of working in child safety and youth and community development.

“It just gives me an idea of what happens for people,” she said. “You get to see it from the other side, which is great.”

She said the USC Moreton Bay campus, near Petrie railway station, was the “most local campus, offered the program I was looking into, and it had new facilities”.

Bursary award

Ms Patterson was recently awarded a Moreton Bay Regional Council-sponsored bursary by the National Council of Women of Queensland Inc (NCWQ) to help her studies.

NCWQ Bursary Program Manager Kathy Cavanagh said Ms Patterson was an outstanding applicant – a foster mother, first in her family to study at university and had a strong community focus and involvement in local groups, including a men’s shed.

The NCWQ bursary program supports women who demonstrate leadership, community service, and determination, often despite obstacles, to follow their personal and professional passions.

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