QUT, in partnership with the Public Service Commission (PSC), invest in scholarships each year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Queensland Government Employees, to undertake the Public Sector Management Program (PSMP).
Diana Friday, a Senior Aboriginal Health Worker from Community Health in far North Queensland was the recipient of one of the 2017 scholarships.
We invited Diana to share the story of her PSMP scholarship journey…
What scholarship did you receive and when?
In early 2016 I read about the Queensland Public Service Commission, QUT Diversity Scholarship and decided to apply not thinking that I would be successful in applying for it. I remember receiving the email stating that I was one of five successful applicants within Queensland and I was quite shocked and taken back because I never thought in a million years that I would be successful. I said to myself, ‘Oh crap, now I have to accept it and study’! Needless to say that there were many phone calls and emails to the PSMP administration support officer asking all sort of questions and stating the fact that I didn’t finish grade 12 was concerned that I didn’t have the knowledge to study at University level. I must say that having the prospect to study at QUT without having the financial strain has been a real blessing and I am very grateful that I was given this wonderful opportunity.
Who or what influenced or inspired you to apply?
I spoke to a work colleague about the scholarship and she said, ‘She completed this same course many years ago and enjoyed it, sometimes challenging but overall very rewarding’. So I discussed this with my family who are very supportive and encouraged me to apply. A very dear friend said to me, ‘Di, if I can do Uni and pass so can you, just do it and I am here to help if you need’. My friend passed away suddenly halfway through my course which was hard but made me even more determined to finish this course and graduate.
What was your personal growth story?
At high school, I was labeled as dumb and put in a class which was for all students who were educationally challenged to put it nicely. I had a lot of self-doubts but the staff at QUT were very helpful and encouraging throughout the whole course. My personal growth in self-esteem, knowledge, and understanding of all Government systems and systems within the systems has improved enormously to the point that my work colleagues have even noticed the improvement in writing reports and other documentation.
How did this study transform you and the organisation you work for?
My role as Senior Health Worker for the Townsville Hospital Health Service Rural Hospitals for all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers has increased. Part of my commitment to my Employer is to improve service delivery within the Rural Hospitals, by having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Engagement and establish in each Hospital an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Advisory Group. I anticipate that once these Advisory Groups are established it will be a positive step in reaching service delivery standards towards Closing The Gap in Health Outcomes in Rural areas.
What has been the highlight of your study experience?
I must say that the highlight of this study experience was meeting the other students who have been supportive of each other from the beginning. I personally think that I would not have made it through if I didn’t have their support as well as the QUT staff and I look forward to graduating with them in December.
What advice would you give to someone looking at trying to do what you have done?
If anyone is thinking about studying to progress in your career options, then do not hesitate. The QUT staff from administration to the Lecturers are very supportive and will provide assistance to help you reach your goal and graduate like I have. I would not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone who is thinking about studying. I have enjoyed my experience so much that I am even considering further study at QUT in the near future.
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