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A chance encounter with a flyer promoting the University College’s Associate Degree in Applied Science, specialising in Aquaculture, changed Hannah Millward-Hopkins’ life course.
A week out from starting a Master of Teaching Degree, Hannah saw the course flyer at a café where she worked and took it as a sign.
“I read through the Aquaculture degree flyer and it sounded much more interesting than being a teacher, so I switched my course and haven’t regretted it one bit,” Hannah said.
With two degrees already under her belt, the 30-year-old Brit has found her way back into an industry she loves.
“I have a background in marine biology and already hold a BSc in Marine Biology and an MSc in Marine Environmental Management, but had been out of the field since completing my MSc travelling and faffing around not being an adult,” she said.
“After my permanent residency status in Australia was confirmed in February I was looking for a way back into some sort of science career and with the aquaculture industry growing in Tasmania this course looked like a good option to get both educational and industry experience.”
Hannah was recently made permanent at Huon Aquaculture where she works full-time as a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) attendant, which involves subsea inspections with underwater drones.
She was initially employed with Huon Aquaculture as a casual employee in April and said her managers were supportive of her study, especially when she needed time off work for workshops.
The mix of online study and tutorials at the University’s Sandy Bay campus have also allowed Hannah to enjoy some free time with her partner and dog when she gets the chance.
“I was apprehensive at first about studying at the University College as I was unsure what to expect and how I would go with an online course after being out of study mode for a number of years,” she said,
“It’s a struggle to fit everything in but I’m just about holding on to my sanity. But the best life advice I’ve received is ‘never be afraid to ask for help’.
“I eventually want to be in a position where I will be able to utilise the knowledge gained in all three of my degrees in some sort of environmental management or regulatory role.”
The Aquaculture specialisation degree is aimed at people who wish to work in the aquaculture industry in Tasmania and mainland Australia. It was developed in response to industry demand as aquaculture is the fastest growing primary industry in Tasmania.
Aquaculture subjects are integrated with core subjects in applied science such as applied maths, quality management, sustainability and technology and innovation. In the second year, students may choose additional elective subjects depending on their areas of interest.
Hannah said the course provided invaluable industry insight and networks.
“If you want an option where you can improve your employment prospects or knowledge while continuing in full-time work, then it’s a great option,” she said.
“The course introduces you to lots of people already in your chosen industry and gives you a great chance to build connections and set up work experience that could lead to employment as it has done for me.”