AIPC Graduate Maureen Williams shares her story…

“I graduated as a counsellor with AIPC after 3 years study. I had always been intrigued by the concept of a counsellor as a helper of people, and I found that university studies did not suit my timeframe and were not very user friendly.

At age 48 I found myself in a position where I could envision myself able to be employed in the near future, but with no particular training other than a considerable knowledge of the earthmoving and civil engineering industry. I investigated the education scene and found an external degree in Education, in the area of Vocational Education and Training, and decided to embark on that course. I gained my degree at age 50 and worked for a time in the education sector as a supply teacher. I found teaching in schools very draining, and embarked on another uni course — a Masters in Anthropology, but found the time constraints too difficult. The deadlines for assignments were just that — deadly!

A chance encounter with a friend who was an AIPC graduate and working in industry, found me phoning Robert Carrigan and asking for an appointment to discuss the course, its validity and an inspection of the curriculum. I was most impressed with the professional approach used and the course design, and I decided then and there to enrol and pay for 2 majors up front. I brought my husband along with me to make him a ‘stakeholder’ in the process. He remarked to Robert Carrigan — “I don’t really think she is capable of doing this work!!!”

Despite a number of intrusive but external events within my family, and several house moves, and a motor-home trip around Australia, I managed to complete my 22 units in around 3 years, and even had a few ‘not yet competents’, which only provided a challenge, and usually meant minimal hiccups in completion of a unit. I often had to set up the computer and printer on the dashboard of the motor home to prepare assignments.

I found the seminars excellent learning opportunities, and I flew in from places far and wide, but thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with staff and fellow students, who, we decided, were all ‘people people’. I have made excellent friends and contacts through these seminars, and of course, had a little retail therapy on the side. Robert Carrigan usually provided a friendly face on arrival and was always very encouraging of us all — and remembered all our names!

I have commenced work in industry as a counsellor with a private provider company, and work with an excellent team of those same ‘people people’, and currently work in an alumina refinery, an aluminium smelter and with the Central Queensland Port Authority.

My clients are predominantly male, present with a wide variety of concerns, and it is really a pleasure to help them help themselves in their journey through life. The background provided by AIPC has been an excellent tool in my work in industry, and I am currently working through a major in grief and loss. What I will do for my other major I don’t yet know. I counsel on site, in the town office, sometimes in the clients’ homes, and occasionally in a café or other venue chosen by the client.

I appreciate that I am in a privileged position within my clients’ lives, and I am well aware of the code of ethics we must use as a guideline. (And I thought the ethics unit would be a complete bore — it was really very interesting — and very necessary.)

Best wishes to everyone studying with AIPC — just plod on and you will get there, and then you will get such a sense of achievement and satisfaction when you finish your course. It truly is worth every minute of it.”