Speech therapy a secure study option


Third-year students Emily Tobin (left) and Mikaela Hayman with a Speech Pathology Week display at the Health Clinic at CQUniversity Rockhampton campus. Source: Peter Lawrence
Students Emily Tobin and Mikaela Hayman encourage others to study speech pathology during Speech Pathology Week at CQ University Rockhampton Source: Peter Lawrence

A lack of speech pathologists in regional and rural areas is being overlooked as a secure career option for young Australians.

According to a report released earlier this week, The Foundation for Young Australians found approximately 60 per cent of students are studying or training for jobs that will require different skills, or simply won’t exist, within the next 15 years.

CQ University Discipline Leader and Senior Lecturer in speech pathology Judy Broadhurst said people were often unaware of the security a career in speech therapy could offer.

“This is the very example of a job that is not going to be taken over in the foreseeable future,” Mrs Broadhurst said.

“The mechanism of our jobs, and how technology is taking over certain career aspects, is a major topic at the moment.

“Sometimes the concept of telehealth is conveyed as a solution to healthcare delivery to rural areas, but it’s not necessarily how rural areas would like to have their services delivered.

“That human connection is still really important for people.”

According to Speech Pathology Australia more than 1.1 million Australians, many of who are living in regional or rural areas, currently have a communication or swallowing disorder.

Judy Broadhurst said many current and prospective students were already living in regional and outlying communities.

“If people already have a connection to rural living, they are much more likely to go back and practice in rural environments,” she said.

CQ University speech pathology student Sharni Tyrrell said practical experiences incorporated into her degree had allowed her to observe clinical work in surrounding rural and coastal regions.

“After gaining some more experience, I will consider looking to work in greater rural areas, as these often come with greater, more rewarding, challenges,” Ms Tyrrell said.

“I can’t wait to start making a difference in these people’s lives.”

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