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How Emma's shoring up her industry skills

This article appears in: Humanitarian, Disaster and Emergency Management
CDU student Emma Kettle with fellow CDU students

As the humanitarian aid and disaster management sector evolves, keeping up with best practice and new ways of responding to crises has never been more important. That’s exactly why Emma Kettle chose to return to uni to take on a postgraduate degree in Humanitarian, Disaster and Emergency Management.

Having worked in the humanitarian aid sector for more than 15 years, Emma enrolled in a Master of Disaster and Emergency Management at CDU to shore up her skills. 

She’s now the Director of Capability at RedR Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that provides humanitarian response training and assistance to alleviate suffering in post-disaster and emergency situations.

Tailoring her studies

After spending many years working in the education and development sectors in the Asia Pacific and Middle East, Emma moved into the humanitarian sector. 

Her job at RedR Australia involves providing training for first responders to disasters and emergencies in Australia and overseas. She teaches aid workers about the technical and soft skills they’ll need in the field, along with how the humanitarian system works globally.

In 2014, Emma decided it was time to invest in her own professional development and enrolled in her master’s degree.

“Although I had worked in the sector for about 15 years, I didn’t have a formal qualification in my field,” she explains. “My undergraduate degree was totally unrelated to humanitarian work.”

I was looking for a postgraduate degree that would consolidate my skills and add depth to my practice. At CDU, I could tailor my master’s degree to suit my professional needs and interests.

"I chose to specialise in cultural competency, which is a huge part of my job at RedR. I completed some fantastic units that taught me so much about how people understand, communicate and interact in culturally-diverse contexts," she says.

Studying online while working and travelling

As she’s based in Melbourne and travels extensively for work, Emma completed her degree mostly online, with a few short trips to Darwin to complete intensive units in disease and health control.

“My experience at CDU was really positive. I enjoyed getting back to study after such a long time away from uni, although there were some surprises along the way,” she says. 

“Students are a lot more independent now than they were 15 years ago. Most of us were studying remotely and logging onto lectures virtually.”

Studying online gave me the freedom to continue working. 

"I logged on to the online learning platform a few times a week, carving out time when it suited me. And one of the best things was regular and easy access to the course coordinator. She was really responsive and any time I had a question it was just a case of shooting off an email.”

On travelling up to Darwin, Emma says: “It was only ever two weeks away from home and a good dose of face-to-face time. The opportunity to work alongside my peers gave me that great sense of collegiality.”

Why Emma chose CDU

"There are so many courses on offer now," she says.

I chose CDU because I travel so much in my job, so it was a huge advantage to be able to do a lot of the study remotely.

“In some ways, the mode of study – whether it’s online or in a classroom – is just as important as the course content. The course content at CDU was exactly what I needed and I found it really valuable to be able to learn the way that I wanted to.”

Is it time to invest in your career and return to uni? Study a postgraduate course in Humanitarian, Emergency and Disaster Management while you work. Choose to study online or on campus, full-time or part-time with CDU.

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