Taking the plunge into university study was always on Smithton resident Kelli Revell’s mind, she just needed a nudge.
When the new Study Centre opened in Circular Head in July, Kelli was inspired by one of the Centre’s Community Learning Officers Vikki Iwanicki, who helped her discover which pathway would suit the busy full-time working mother of two best.
Now Kelli is enrolled in the Diploma of University Studies with the University of Tasmania and juggles study around her role as Venue Manager of the Bridge Hotel, which she has held for almost 12 years.
“It’s going really well, and I am really enjoying it. I have always enjoyed learning and education and had attempted university before but hadn’t completed my degree,” Kelli said.
“I ran into Vikki by chance when the Study Centre was being set up and we got chatting. One thing led to another and I ended up enrolling in the diploma with the goal that it will be a pathway to completing my Bachelor degree.
“It has been a juggling act at times with the kids and work, but my hours can be flexible when needed. With studying as well now, I don’t have a lot of spare time.”
Located in the former Agritas building, the Study Centre is designed to support all learners at a post-secondary level studying tertiary education (university) and vocational education and training (VET) in the Circular Head region.
The centre features comfortable, safe learning spaces, free WIFI, face-to-face engagement with lecturers, tutors and trainers and a secure facility which can be accessed by students 24/7. For Kelli, completing a Certificate 4 in Hospitality Management gave her a taste of tertiary education, but taking the next step has been possible through the support she receives from the Study Hub staff.
She said some of her Bridge Hotel staff are also completing hospitality certificates with support from the Study Centre.
“I doubt I would currently even be studying if it weren’t for the support and guidance from the Study Centre staff, they have been amazing,” Kelli said.
“There are also great resources available at the centre, be that computers, printing, a quiet space to work away from distractions at home, and help on hand if you need it.”
Being able to study in her own backyard is something Kelli didn’t think was possible.
“Long distance learning can be hard as you are not face to face with lecturers and other students, but the Study Centre team helped breach that void and gave me the confidence to take up studying again,” Kelli said.
“Circular Head (Smithton) although quite isolated is a great little community to work and raise a family in. Having lived in larger suburbs where nobody knows you, it is nice to live in a smaller community where everyone knows and supports each other.
“To anyone thinking about wanting to do some training, or getting back into study, perhaps a career change, I’d encourage you to go and speak to the staff at the Study Centre. I honestly can’t speak more highly of them, they are amazing.”
University of Tasmania Community Learning Officer Vikki Iwanicki said the Study Centre staff have a good understanding of the difficulties students face in remote and regional areas and are on hand to provide guidance and support when needed.
“Our staff will knowledgeably assist students with education pathways, academic support, study plans and a whole lot of other wraparound services all designed to help them stay focused to achieve their education goals,” Vikki said.
“Studying isn’t usually a linear pathway. There are many barriers or family obligations and one thing we try to let people know is that wherever you are it’s ok, we can work on the next step to get you where you want to be.”