Mildura locals switch up their careers with study

La Trobe University Mildura has seen a growing number of students pursuing postgraduate study in an effort to change up their careers.  With more learn and earn models on offer and paid placements, there’s never been a better time to return to study.  Antoinette and Roberto share their stories and why they are excited to embark on new careers.

Having worked as a nurse for most of her career, Antoinette Tippett felt she needed a change and was keen to return to higher education.  She is studying a Master of Social Work (Child and Family Practice) via the Switch to Social Work program.

“When I came across the Switch to Social Work Program late last year, it was a no brainer to apply! The course has so much going for it and is unprecedented in what is offering for new graduates to enter the industry.

“I’m loving that I can attend my local La Trobe campus, be reimbursed to study and also paid to complete work placements. As the course has a Child and Family focus, I’m being offered opportunities to develop my social work skills in host organisations that are leaders in child and family services over the next two years. The course is offered via a blended delivery, so I am attending some online classes and some face-to- face classes - which is a great mix for me.”

“Social work was always on my radar, having worked closely with social workers in my previous roles. I always admired the variety of roles social workers have been employed to do and how they are trained to see issues from many angles, working with people using a wide lens.

“Returning to study is a bit stressful at first, but this has been made easier with the amazing support of the La Trobe staff including, the administration team at La Trobe Mildura, Hayley and Sharon, our amazing librarian Lyn and the wonderful lecturers and student support team on campus and on-line. No doubt it will be a bittersweet moment when I graduate in 2026!”

Roberto holds a passion for science and is looking forward to pursuing a career as a high school science teacher, once he completes his Master of Teaching (Secondary).

“My passion in science is in neuroscience and the way the brain works. We know so very little about our brains and where consciousness lies, and the prospect of finding out more excites me. Hopefully my enthusiasm for this subject will encourage young students to be interested in finding out about how the world works, in particular the brain.

“I graduated with an undergraduate science degree from Monash University.  I worked in a lab making influenza vaccines for a short time before realising lab work wasn't for me.  I needed less micro-pipetting and more human interaction!

“I did start a Graduate Diploma of Education at La Trobe in 2012, however after completing my first placements in primary years I realised that I didn't quite have the patience for teaching, especially in junior years. I have always thought that I would love to come back to that after I had completed more of my own journey. Now that I've had more experiences in life, I believe I will be better suited to teaching.

“Now the structure of the courses has changed and I can study specifically secondary teaching for science, as opposed to a general diploma in teaching all years. The course is offered in Mildura with a local campus, but the classes are run online which is a massive benefit because its very flexible and allows for work commitments.”

Roberto says the recently announced scholarships for secondary teaching degrees was a contributing factor in his returning to study.

“I had thought about returning and completing a teaching qualification, but this makes it much easier and more accessible due to the fact that the underlying cost is removed.

“During my study journey I am looking forward being involved in the La Trobe community, learning more, meeting new people, free lunches, and job security upon completion.”