UniSA Online offers new community health degree

xxx COMMUNITY

In the past 10 years, more than 1.5 million Australians have chosen to study their degree qualifications online.

Dr Anna Gregory

While the trend of online learning is on the rise, students are becoming more discerning and are increasingly seeking inspiring and satisfying learning experiences online.

With a suite of 100 per cent online degrees launched earlier this year, each UniSA Online degree offers students the opportunity to explore their passion or change career path, without adding stress to their already busy lifestyles.

This includes a new degree never offered before at UniSA – a Bachelor of Community Health, which will give graduates a generalist professional skill set to enter the fastest growing workforce in Australia.

Dr Anna Gregory, who oversees the courses for the Bachelor of Community Health, says it presents huge opportunities for students.

“It is a vastly growing area … health and social care tops the bar as the fastest growing employment industry in Australia,” Dr Gregory says.

The National Disability Insurance Agency employs about 1700 staff and Dr Gregory says that number will rise, with the need for far more disability planners and non-clinical community health staff. And just as demand is increasing, many people who currently work in community health are looking to retire in the next decade.

“There is an entirely new workforce that’s only really started up in Australia in the last couple of years so it is a whole area for people who have a real passion and interest for health without a clinical degree, including people with an interest in administration and management,” she says.

“There are many roles that graduates from this degree will be able to apply for in assessment and planning services, team leadership and coordinating roles in community care. There’s also project management roles in local councils and other workplaces, for improving health and wellbeing. So the community health degree graduates could end up working in a heap of different places.”

“When you haven’t worked in the sector in the past, these roles can be hard to understand or spot. But graduates will have a much better understanding of what they are on the lookout for. We bring our industry experience into helping them to understand the sector.”

Dr Gregory says the course leaders and facilitators have liaised with industry experts in aged care, disability, mental health, and the relevant peak bodies. Industry experts have stressed that there is a vital need for graduates with professional skill sets who can adapt to changing roles.

“This sector needs people who can adapt into jobs that aren’t here today but will be here tomorrow.

“This degree trains students to be able to problem solve, adapt, find new solutions and have the type of skills to actually take on changing roles and direction. That’s why problem solving and critical thinking are important skills that we are teaching – this is what the industry is telling us they need.”

More interactive than you’d expect, the UniSA Online degrees won’t see students tapping away at a keyboard in isolation. A lot of interaction and engagement has been built into the courses with tutors and support staff available seven days a week.

Dr Gregory says one of the big differentiators of online learning is how well prepared graduates will be to work in the community health sector.

“Working in health and social care, a lot of the organisations are quite large and span a lot of different states.  Students will develop strong communication, teamwork and problem solving skills, allowing them to hit the ground running when they graduate.

“This is all part of a professional skill set which students will be learning and practising through their education, giving them exactly what they need when they hit the workplace.”

Dr Gregory says community health suits a range of people, including people who have been in the workforce for a number of years but are ready for a career change, people who are looking to advance in their career, as well as those with family and work commitments.

There are job opportunities in a range of areas including:

  • Aged care

  • Disability care

  • Mental health

  • Aboriginal health

  • Community services

Dr Gregory says she’s passionate about working in community settings and is excited about establishing the new degree in an area of need.

“I’ve been working with managers who are struggling with not having the people they need to care for the community,” she says.

“This degree will teach students the skills they need to take on the roles of tomorrow. I am passionate about filing the gaps I’ve seen first-hand.”

http://online.unisa.edu.au/siteassets/documents/brochures/unisaonline-studyguide2018.pdf

100 per cent online, on demand degrees:

  • Bachelor of Business (Human Resource Management)

  • Bachelor of Business (Management)

  • Bachelor of Business (Marketing)

  • Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)

  • Bachelor of Communication

  • Bachelor of Community Health

  • Bachelor of Construction Management

  • Bachelor of Digital Media

  • Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition and Exercise)

  • Bachelor of Information Technology and Data Analytics

  • Bachelor of Psychological Science and Sociology

  • Bachelor of Criminal Justice (June 2018)

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