University students picking up opportunities in Tamworth

BACK AT HOME: Tamworth woman Karly Bourke found work in Tamworth related to her degree. Photo: Peter Hardin 080117PHB009

BACK AT HOME: Tamworth woman Karly Bourke found work in Tamworth related to her degree. Photo: Peter Hardin 080117PHB009

EMPLOYMENT in regional NSW may seem like a bridge too far for many university students, but Tamworth woman Karly Bourke reckons the jobs are here.

In fact, she was surprised by how easily it came together following university.

Ms Bourke recently scored a gig as a youth worker with The Youthie in Coledale, while she’s still chipping away at her degree.

She’s finishing off her Bachelor of Criminology through the University of New England (UNE) while working casually at the youth centre, which she sees as the first step toward a career in juvenile justice.

“I’ve kind-of nearly made it, and it’s a really good feeling,” she said.

The opportunity came about from an elective work-placement unit taken during her degree, last year, and she hasn’t looked back.

“I felt a bit stuck and wanted to take a step forward and start making a career,” she told The Leader.

“You don’t need to finish your university degree to start a career, you can be halfway through or nearly finished and make a start.”

Like many students nearing the end of high school, Ms Bourke was unsure where tertiary education would take her and it took a simple session on Google to know it was the right path.

“I pretty much just sat down and googled jobs you can get from a criminology degree and youth worker and juvenile justice work fell under that,” she said.

“I thought, if this is what I can do, I’m going to stick with it.

While juvenile justice is the end goal, she was more than happy to stay regionally and even considered going to more remote areas.

“I love the idea of working in a regional place and even going further out west and working,” she said.

“[Working in the city] never actually crossed my mind. I’m the type of person that wouldn’t move to Sydney, even if I had to, I just love this lifestyle too much.”

The young-undergraduate reckons Tamworth is getting attention across the state too.

“I have friends that are from Newcastle and work in Newcastle and now want to come to Tamworth because there are jobs here,” she said.

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