Engineering alumnus Jack Frame has built himself a future at CQUniversity, with scholarships and the STEPS program giving him a strong foundation to pursue a career he’d always dreamed of.
Jack graduated from CQUniversity with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) with First Class Honours and Diploma of Professional Practice (Co-op Engineering) earlier in 2017 and is now a Junior Site Engineer for the telecommunications firm, Visionstream in Toowoomba. He however acknowledges that he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for the decision to take that first step into tertiary study.
“I have always had the desire to investigate everything; why things work and why things are built a certain way,” Jack said.
“Throughout high school I took all of the design and fabrication classes, which really grew my inherent desire to create.”
After finishing high school on the Sunshine Coast in 2012 Jack said he didn’t have enough pre-requisites to study engineering or architecture. He later made the decision to move to Mackay to see what trade opportunities were available. After working in construction, building roof trusses and frames he heard about the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) program at CQUniversity.
“It was the best decision I have ever made, after working for half a year in a shed I began to study again,” he said.
“I enrolled in the bulk of the STEPS courses, ranging from mathematics for university to simple computer skills.”
By the second term of STEPS Jack found a new labouring job that allowed him to build, fix and design throughout his work hours.
“It was a great way to get my mind back on the track of becoming an engineer. I found it difficult to get back into the swing of things but the staff were so helpful and supportive I eventually completed all of the pre-requisites required for Engineering at CQUni.
“After finishing the STEPS course, I applied for the degree that I eventually graduated with. I know for a fact without the STEPS program I would not have been able to cope at university, it was the biggest help I could have asked for.”
Before and during his studies Jack also received a number of scholarships – the Equity Technology Scholarship in 2013 to purchase a new laptop, the Sugar Research Institute Scholarship in 2015, which provided three rounds of month long paid placements at various sugar mills in Australia and finally the 2017 Equity Accommodation Scholarship helped him with the costs of rent and to purchase equipment whilst completing his degree.
“I was told a long time ago, by the STEPS staff, to apply for every scholarship, even if remotely applicable to you,” he said.
“If I didn’t receive the equity scholarships, I would have had to be working more whilst studying. Being able to have a reliable laptop from the equity technology scholarship made it so much easier to get my studies done throughout my earlier years.
“After this I worked full or part time for the next two or so years while studying. I quit my job when my thesis began, and by the time my second term of thesis (my final term of study) came round I had all but diminished my savings on rent and living (I also had an operation to have my tonsils removed). Without the rent scholarship I would have definitely had to work again, and I would most likely have failed, but I definitely would have received a considerably lower grade.
Jack said the skills and knowledge he acquired from the degree helped him apply for his current job.
“I applied for about 30 positions over six weeks and was really happy to find out I was successful,” he said.
“I would advise anyone to apply (for the Equity Scholarship), if you need help don’t be shy or too proud to ask for it. These scholarships are there for a reason. They changed my entire experience at university for the better and they can do the same for others.
“I have talked to countless people outside of university that want to study at university but either didn’t do too well at school, thought they weren’t smart enough or haven’t studied in years. I always tell them about the STEPS program, when I was going through it there were people from all walks of life and it was amazing to see, there were people with stable and fruitful careers already who wanted to study some more, then there were others who had been out of work for a period – all of these people did just as well as anyone else throughout the STEPS courses and have since gone through university.
“I am a big advocate for the STEPS program – it’s a worthwhile program that can help anyone get into the degree of their dreams.”