'I still work as a bus driver full-time and but I have organised everything so I can fit in all the study time that I need. And I'm loving it.'
'It's great, how no matter what your age and background there are ways to get in. I had been feeling so down for a while thinking I'd blown my chances a few years ago. But to find out I still had an opportunity really cheered me up. I’m on my way now and proud to be creating a better future for my family.'
Then he discovered he could study the IT course he wanted to online. It seemed the perfect solution because he could keep working full time, and fit study in around his job. And it meant he could work towards something better for his family.
Studying online meant that Brian could work at his own pace – all he needed was a computer. He knew it might take a year or two longer than studying full-time, but figured out it was still worth it. He also knew that if he tried to take on too much he’d just have to give up again – so it was better to take his time.
Because he’d only partially completed a TAFE course, Brian wasn’t sure how to get into a university course. He contacted the uni and eventually did a test called the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT). He passed and got into the uni course he wanted. His kids were really proud of their old dad sitting an exam and passing it.
Combining his study with full-time work meant Brian was confident he could continue to meet all his financial commitments. And he managed to get a couple of small grant scholarships especially for mature age students to help with fees and other costs.
But he was worried about getting enough help with study, especially as he was studying on his own outside of a classroom and had previously been diagnosed with dyslexia. The other thing that concerned him was the workload. He worried about being able to cope with work and study. He felt he couldn’t face the shame of dropping out again.
In fact, Brian found that there were lots of helpful support services in place for people like him. The disability support centre at the uni has helped with his dyslexia and he gradually worked out his own system for study, always knowing that there are people in the system he can turn to when he needs help.
He loved attending a couple of weekend courses on campus because he got to meet people from all walks of life who are studying online like him and face the same issues managing the rest of their lives.
Brian admits that at first he wasn’t sure if the career options available after graduating were worth the time and money. But after talking to people in support services and getting help to plan the future, he feels confident he is doing the right thing. By gaining some qualifications Brian knows he’ll be able to get a job with higher pay and better conditions.
Completing the workload online means the biggest challenge is motivation and self-discipline, but he allocates a certain amount of time every day for study. No excuses!
- Went to TAFE to study IT a few years ago but dropped out and became a bus driver.
- Discovered he could study IT online and still work full-time.
- Had no formal qualifications so sat a Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) to get into uni.
- Worried about how his dyslexia would affect his study but got help from student support services and with hard work is doing well.
- Has a career plan for the future, has done IT work experience and feels proud to be creating a better future for his family.