New cadetship means students hit the ground running

14 June 2017

A new cadetship program is giving a Warrnambool university student a head start in his accounting career.

Justin Attrill has become one of the first Deakin University Warrnambool Campus accounting students to start working in the field at McLaren Hunt Financial Group while doing his first year of study.

In the past, local accounting firms have recruited final year students to complete their studies while also learning on the job; this year the program has expanded to first year students.

Sinclair Wilson is also hosting first year students in partnership with Deakin to address strong local demand for accounting and business jobs.

For Mr Attrill it is an opportunity to make money while learning the industry inside and out.

Originally he wanted to study in Melbourne or at Deakin Geelong but changed his focus after finding out about the combined cadetship-study option in Warrnambool.

“It’s easy to live at home compared to paying in Melbourne and a lot of my friends are still here and I’ve made new friends at Uni,” Mr Attrill said.

This year he is studying full-time was working three days a week. He expects to reduce his study load next year and hopes to complete the course in four years.

Already the combination is having benefits. “It’s really good to have real learning experience,” Mr Attrill said. “Being able to put in practice what I’m learning at uni is very beneficial.”

Deakin University Warrnambool Campus Faculty of Business and Law engagement and retention officer, Martin O’Brien, said there is very strong demand locally for people with business and accounting skills

To make the joint arrangement possible, the Deakin University Warrnambool Campus blocked the course timetable over the three days.

“It’s not just to accommodate the cadetships but to make life easier for all students,” Mr O’Brien said.

“For Justin it might take a bit longer to complete the course but he will be working and getting direct experience at the same time,” Mr O’Brien said.

“There are very good job prospects for graduates from this course so hopefully more people see the opportunities that come from enrolling in Warrnambool.”

McLaren Hunt Financial Group partner Chris Kol said the company had employed many Deakin graduates over the years and recruited students from second or third year for part-time positions while they completed their degrees.

“We’re pleased to expand on that as it supports Deakin, it’s good for us to have young people consistently coming to our business, and it’s a great opportunity for the student to work and study part-time.

“Instead of paying thousands to study in Melbourne, they can study and work in Warrnambool and make money while learning on the job from an industry mentor.”

Mr Kol said McLaren Hunt hoped to continue the program annually.

“All the signs are good at this stage,” he said.

Sinclair Wilson has this year taken on five Deakin students from the Business & Law Faculty (Commerce), Warrnambool campus to work part time, including three first year students at the Warrnambool, Hamilton and Mt Gambier offices, a second year student in the Camperdown office and a third year student in the Warrnambool office.

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