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From gloomy to uni: Make the grade during Covid-19

Geoff McDonald goes by many titles: businessperson, husband, Councillor and Toowoomba’s newly appointed Deputy Mayor (to name a few).
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Now he can add one more: a university student.

It has been one week since the Deputy Mayor started a free mini course at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) – an opportunity he quite literally jumped at.

“When an opportunity presents itself, you must take it,” he said.

“You can’t put a price tag on education, but by offering these mini courses at no cost during one of the most costly periods in our region’s history, it gives people more incentive to enrol.”

So far, there have been more than 1,500 USQ UpSkill applications – a figure the Deputy Mayor attributes to the community’s willingness to enhance their skills in a rapidly changing workforce.

“We still don’t know the full extent of the effects that coronavirus will have on our region, but we do know that Toowoomba’s recovery will be fuelled by skilled workers,” he said.

“I’m studying ‘Campaigning for Change’ which is very timely given the current circumstances.

“It covers topics such as behaviour change, and understanding motivations.”

It is one of five free courses – out of 30 – on offer from this month, including:

Each course is fully online and requires 40 hours of study over four weeks.

They can also stack up to contribute to a university qualification.

USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said it was more important than ever to build skills that helped people prepare for a changing world.

“If university study has been something you have always thought of trying, this might be the perfect time to dip your toes in the water,” she said.

The free offer is open for six months, which also includes intakes starting July 20 and September 21.

You can enrol online.

man jumping
Toowoomba Regional Councillor Geoff McDonald is hitting the study books at USQ.