Beautician Margot Borovac and cane farmer Ross Protani.
Beautician Margot Borovac and cane farmer Ross Protani.

Floods renew students' lives

WHEN flood waters inundated Bundaberg a few years ago, they also started a ripple effect in the lives of local beautician Margot Borovac and cane farmer Ross Protani.

Despite their vastly different backgrounds, Margot and Ross have become classmates in CQUniversity's Bachelor of Public Health degree.

Farmer Ross was involved in the post-floods 'mud army' and developed an interest in disaster management, drawing him to enrol in the degree's Environmental Health specialisation.

He's been juggling his CQUni study with running a couple of farms and, most recently, has been involved in his initial work placement with Bundaberg Regional Council.

"The work placement at Bundaberg Regional Council has been fantastic ... I've been involved in checking the food safety of various takeaway food shops and restaurants," Ross says.

A former nurse who moved into the beauty industry, Margot found that her clients' pool of discretionary spending cash was hit hard by the floods.

The single mother of a young son started looking for fresh career paths and initially enrolled in the popular STEPS preparatory program.

Margot ended up focusing on the Health Promotion specialisation of the Bachelor of Public Health and has been approaching her studies with determination (with the hope of finishing the degree in February, 2016).

She particularly enjoyed her recent work placement with the HeartStart organisation in Bundaberg.

"I've been getting by on Austudy as a single mum and it has been hard going," Margot says.

"However I firmly believe if you start something you finish it … I'm very resilient and very strong and proud of what I have achieved."