WELCOME MAT: SCU students James Reid, Rebecca MacKenzie and Kellie Guest with Janelle Saffin.
WELCOME MAT: SCU students James Reid, Rebecca MacKenzie and Kellie Guest with Janelle Saffin. John Waddell

Students’ million-dollar home

IMAGINE having to go caravanning while doing your clinical placement as a training nurse or speech therapist in regional or remote areas.

That has been the case for Southern Cross University health students who now have access to mobile accommodation while furthering their clinical experience, thanks to the advocacy efforts of Federal Page MP and member of the University Council, Janelle Saffin.

The two accommodation trailers are fully equipped with kitchenette, lounge area and sleeping quarters for up to 12 students

The cost of the trailers was $1,731,092 and funded by Health Workforce Australia, as an Australian Government initiative.

Head of the School of Health and Human Sciences, Professor Iain Graham, said the new trailers provide a great benefit to students.

"These trailers will provide lodging for students on placements in areas where safe, secure, low-cost accommodation is not available," he said.

One trailer has already done its maiden voyage to the Sawtell community and Allied Health Lead and Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, Ev Innes said the six male students had a positive experience.

"They were able to cook for themselves and found (staying in the trailer) enabled them to have a good placement where otherwise it (accommodation) would have been difficult to access," Ms Innes said.

"We want students out in the regional areas where they may be more likely to return.

"We are growing our own health force and having the university go out to the community.

"A unique aspect of the trailers is that they are fitted with solar panels to assist in providing power. They also have capacity to carry 90 litres of fresh water and 90 litres of grey water," he said.

The accommodation trailers can be used in conjunction with the School's state-of-the-art Mobile Learning and Research Facility, or Sim trailer, which has been in use since 2011.



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