Rob Cartwright relishes his university degree but is happy to earn the big bucks as a soil tester.
Rob Cartwright relishes his university degree but is happy to earn the big bucks as a soil tester. Tom Huntley

Graduate gets hands dirty while sparky set to start uni

WORKING as a highly paid soil tester, Rob Cartwright is a graduate student who believes in the importance of learning.

"I think uni is great," he said. "I mean, it all depends on the person you are."

Although he originally studied performing arts in 2005 at CQ University in Rockhampton, Mr Cartwright said there was not much opportunity to use his degree skills in Gladstone.

"I've been here the last two years," he said.

"When the opportunity came up for soil testing I looked into it."

Mr Cartwright said his job at Coffey Information supplied training and lots of opportunity to further his career.

"There are positions all over the world," he said.

As for the money, Mr Cartwright said it was definitely a good incentive to take on his new job, and said it must be hard growing up in a region like Gladstone to see any point in going to uni.

"When you have people around here getting jobs earning big money, it would be hard to see the value in uni," he said.

But as for advice, Mr Cartwright said it all came down to the individual.

"I don't think it's essential but I don't dismiss it though," he said.

"At the end of the day, it's about the type of person you are.

"I learn best when I've got my hands on doing things, but some people out there learn better from reading and being taught."

Mother Relene Hudson is about to undertake full-time study next year in a Bachelor of Information Technology at Gladstone's CQ University, after graduating from the pre-university preparatory Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) program.

Relene Hudson from Reef Net Computer, Gladstone, will start a Bachelor of Information Technology degree next year.
Relene Hudson from Reef Net Computer, Gladstone, will start a Bachelor of Information Technology degree next year. Tom Huntley

Ms Hudson, a 30-year-old mother of three, said she had enjoyed the STEPS program and the opportunity it gave people.

"The STEPS program was free," she said.

"And you get a really good idea of what you can handle, education wise and the areas you need to work on."

Growing up in Gladstone since she was 11, Ms Hudson is originally an electrician by trade, something she went into straight after finishing school.

"I thought that trade was a better fit for me back then," she said.

For future school-leavers in Gladstone, Ms Hudson said she didn't blame those wanting to finish school and look for a high-paid job in the mines or construction.

"To me, they've got the opportunity at a young age to make good money," she said.

"So you can't deny them that.

"I still have the opportunity to make good money, but it doesn't fit into our family life now."

Handling full time work and a house full of kids, Ms Hudson said there were a few reasons she wanted to go back to uni.

"My youngest started kindy and I wanted to better myself," she said.

"After you have been out of it for a while, especially having children, you don't use your intelligence.

"I felt I wanted to challenge myself."

When asked, Ms Hudson said she would not say uni was essential to obtaining a good job but was certainly beneficial if you wanted to better yourself.

"As the saying goes, be the best you can be," she said.

"I like to try my best at everything I do."



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