From the ground to the air

Whatever age you are, and whatever profession you are in, Central can make your desired career switch happen.  The latest shining example is Lauren McWhirter, who as I write this is driving from Perth across the country to Dubbo, to begin her new career as a radio presenter.

Lauren was firmly established in her career in the field of geology, but like many, had a yearning for another vocation.  To find out how she made the big switch, I got hold of Lauren, mid-journey in Port Augusta, and once again reunited with the wonders of Wi-Fi…

Where were you working in Geology and how long had you been in the industry?

I worked for Fortescue Metals Group at their Cloudbreak site in the Pilbara as a Mine Geologist and then in their Perth Office as a Resource Geologist.  All up it was from Jan 2007 until May 2012.

What made you decide to change?

I wasn’t happy anymore and the money wasn’t worth not enjoying going to work.  I didn’t want to look at rocks anymore…I wanted to play rock!  I’ve always had an interest in radio, having volunteered with RTRFM since 2007.  I was just too scared to actually go on air!  I guess when I was younger I never really knew there was such a thing as a job in radio, and also I felt obliged to my parents to do something ‘smart’ if that makes sense? My Dad finished school at 14 and spent a lot of money and his time earning it to send me to a good school…

Once you had made your mind up to pursue a career in radio, how did you know what to do next?

Image of career changing radio graduate I realised when I had decided to take a six month holiday (from June until Dec 2012) that when I got back I didn’t want to go back to what I had been doing – geology.  I can’t remember what exactly set it off, but I started researching and checked out the ECU course and realised I didn’t want to do another Bachelor degree (and spend 3 years doing it!).

I can’t remember how I found it, but I found the Central course and three things stood out:

One, I could possibly get away with just taking one year off to study (which is all I could really afford).  Secondly, it was much less expensive than the BA at ECU.  Finally, it was just down the street from me.  I lived in Mount Hawthorn while doing the course so could ride my bike directly south for 2km and be at college!

What did you most like about Central’s radio course?

So many things. The passion that Russell, Phil and Annwen (lecturers) brought to all of their classes was nothing short of impressive. I was constantly astounded at how much they care about the students’ work and them being good enough to get a job (and also care about the students’ wellbeing).  This is what Central (I think) is great at – providing course material that is industry based.

The experience of having our own studios, participating in shows and having direction and course-work structured around fulfilling assessments built to get you a job in the ‘real world’ of radio clearly works! I have never done a course where students that have not even completed their first year are able to get paid employment in the field they are studying…it’s extraordinary.

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