Phil McCulloch says he always wanted to study at university but he never quite got round to doing it.

The now 39-year-old says after he completed his grade 12 exams he was encouraged to get a job.

“My mum and grandmother thought I could get a job to help pay my way if I did decide to study…I was offered a job in real estate and so that’s what I pursued. University just didn’t happen then,” he said.

Over the next two decades Phil worked hard to forge himself a successful career in sales and is now the station manager at radio broadcasters LAFM.

But despite the success in his career, Phil says the desire to study never waned.

I’ve been tempted over a number of years to go to university but I got to that stage in my career where I decided if I was going to get into bigger and better roles I needed to get the tertiary education on my résumé.

“When the course outline for an associate degree in Applied Business came out I saw that the content was very practical and relevant to what I do and that was a big factor for me.” 

Phil is one of hundreds of people who are taking advantage of the University of Tasmania’s new curriculum that has been designed to give prospective students more options to enter university.

The new two-year associate degrees offered by University College is one of the options that is giving students an innovative, industry relevant qualification that provides more opportunities to progress into further study or gain a valuable qualification.

Phil says despite being a mature aged student he still had first day nerves about learning how to reference work and using the technology – but as it turned out it wasn’t as hard as he had feared.

“The support was there in the first term and it’s continued throughout the course,” he said.

People in our classroom come from wide and varied circumstances but we are all in the same boat. Most of us have had some sort of break from college to university. We share those experiences and it’s good to know that you’re not in it by yourself.

Phil says juggling work, family and study can be hectic but the sacrifices have been worthwhile.

“It’s been very positive and well received. My daughter started grade 7 on the same day I started university so that was a nice synergy to think that she’s going on to higher education through high school and I may be setting a good example for her as well.

I’m a believer of life-long learning. I preach it to my [work] team but to actually back that up and lead by example that you can actually do it has been very satisfying.

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