Michael Pekin at his USC graduation in Hervey Bay.
Michael Pekin at his USC graduation in Hervey Bay.

Degree pioneer using new skills to help those in need

A HERVEY Bay university graduate is using his new skills to help people.

Michael Pekin gained his Bachelor of Human Services from the University of the Sunshine Coast last month.

The 29-year-old is working locally in disability and child safety support services, fuelled by his desire to support young people and assist others with significant or permanent disabilities.

"Whether it is helping people with a disability to live an ordinary life or assisting youths to access vital support for mental health and other issues, I simply want to help those in need," Mr Pekin said.

 

New USC Human Services graduates Barb Carter, Jodi-Lee Cuskelly, Michael Pekin, Makayla Rudd and Tegan Mackel with Professor Ken Greenwood and Dr Kate Jonathan from USC's School of Social Sciences
New USC Human Services graduates Barb Carter, Jodi-Lee Cuskelly, Michael Pekin, Makayla Rudd and Tegan Mackel with Professor Ken Greenwood and Dr Kate Jonathan from USC's School of Social Sciences

 

The former retail worker was among the first students to enrol when the local USC campus first offered the three-year degree in 2016.

"Now I have graduated, I am enjoying applying my academic knowledge and expanding my skills and experience as I work to create positive benefits for individuals, families and carers," he said.

Head of USC's School of Social Sciences professor Ken Greenwood said the degree was designed to assist students gain careers in areas such as community development, welfare, youth, family support and disability services.

"The health and community services sector is one of the fastest growing in Australia and, with the rollout of the new National Disability Insurance Scheme, human services professionals are in demand," he said.

Students are required to complete two separate field placements in human services agencies during the degree, providing a total of 500 hours of practical experience.

Mr Pekin said he knew he had chosen the right career path the moment he began his first work placement at Headspace, a national non-profit organisation providing mental health services for young Australians.

"Working to support young people get back on track and access and engage with mental health support is now one of my major career goals," he said.