Student’s advice: "Get amongst it!"
By Serpil Senelmis
When Cameron Early attended the 2016 Global Welfare Summit on the Gold Coast, the idea of returning to study was the furthest thing from his mind. But the conference delivered an unexpected and enticing prospect, which set the wheels in motion for the 46-year-old to become a student again.
After hearing a presentation during that summit from Lena Gan, an academic from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, at the University of Melbourne, Mr Early was genuinely inspired. It was in that moment he was convinced to enrol in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to study the subject, Rethinking Ageing. Following that experience, he well and truly caught the study bug. He was encouraged by the quality of the course content and applied to study the Master of Ageing online through the University of Melbourne.
“No other university in Australia offered such a multidisciplinary course in Ageing and Lena was very encouraging and persuasive.”
Having professionally dipped his toe into the ageing space prior to the summit, the Master of Ageing presented Mr Early with “an avenue to gain further knowledge and skills to add to (his) personal profile and (his) business’ credibility in the market place.”
Mr Early established the first Australian company to formally deliver Senior Move Management Services. Golden Years Home Transitions provides a service which helps hundreds of seniors to move from their family homes into residential care or retirement living.
The idea was born after the experienced real estate agent and registered valuer realised that there was a gap in the market when it came to seniors downsizing. Mr Early decided to follow in the footsteps of the USA and Canadian markets which had a regulated industry for such services. With this in mind, he set about launching a service that would help senior Australians navigate the stressful transition of leaving the family home after many years, and with that leaving behind a lifetime of memories.
Working in such a complex environment has earned Mr Early’s company accolades, including the Circle of Service designation by the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM). And the company remains the only Australian business who are Certified Relocation Specialists. Despite this success, the sensitivity surrounding his business practice has left Mr Early wanting to learn more about ageing practices. He wants to ensure his services remain on trend. Mr Early states that the Master of Ageing course has already equipped him for best-practice.
“The course content has given me wonderful insights into emerging practices in the ageing sector and many of these concepts I have already been able to adopt and integrate into our business systems to enhance the health and wellbeing outcomes for our senior clients.”
While Mr Early admits that he stumbled his way into this degree, he says he’s received immense value through his studies.
“The most valuable part of studying at this level is the interaction you have online with fellow students. At masters level of study, all students are there by self-motivation and the variety of professional backgrounds brings a rich tapestry of opinions and life experiences to each class.”
Looking back on how his student journey has evolved, the Brisbane father explains that he “would not have been able to juggle family, work and other commitments to participate” if it wasn’t for the online nature of the course. Mr Early states that the online mode of delivery has also had additional learning benefits.
An online medium necessitates completing tasks in an online format such as producing a recorded, narrated slide presentation rather than delivering a presentation live. Being forced to participate in this manner has forced me to learn new digital skills that otherwise I mightn’t have.
“The online learning experience has been tremendous, with the course content expertly delivered in multiple formats to cater for a variety of learning preferences. Whilst I have continued to struggle with the volume of readings that has been necessary, having them available at just a click of a button makes it much easier to resume such readings at short notice when family and work-life permits,” he adds.
While the cost of completing the Master of Ageing online is “substantial” according to Mr Early, he says it’s also “almost irrelevant” to him.
“I am required to complete CPD annually through my profession and costs associated with conferences, workshops, expos and other promotional activities that my business budgets for annually is all part and parcel of doing business,” he explains.
But there’s more to it than just an essential business expense. Mr Early states that the degree offers tangible benefits that outweigh the cost.
“The value associated with interacting with high calibre like-minded individuals and having the ability to network with same, has already produced measurable financial returns for my business, which whilst unintended and unexpected, further crystalizes the investment value for me.”
Mr Early has nothing but praise for the Master of Ageing course and goes so far as suggesting that “if you have a desire to contribute to the health and wellbeing outcomes for our older folk, you should fight to be part of the Master of Ageing program at the University of Melbourne.”
“From my observation, learning and experience, University of Melbourne are the world-leaders and are at the cutting-edge of the emerging Ageing sector. Get amongst it!”
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