WITH a strong mind and a compassionate nature, Dean Cook has always been interested in entering the health profession.
It is for this reason the young Lauderdale resident recently decided to pursue a Bachelor of Paramedic Practice at the University of Tasmania.
“I considered becoming a doctor but soon decided that I wanted to get out into the community and start helping people a lot sooner,” Mr Cook, 19, said.
“Becoming a paramedic seemed to be the right choice for me.
“In order to excel in the profession you need to be very dedicated and empathetic, which fits my personality exactly.”
To help cover the many costs that come with starting a university degree, Mr Cook applied for the South Arm RSL scholarship, which provides $2,000 grants to candidates entering their first year of a university course, apprenticeship or traineeship.
Introduced in 2014, the scholarship only requires that the applicant has immediate family who have been a member of the club for at least 12-months.
South Arm RSL treasurer Ron Clegg said the scholarship was slowly growing in popularity, with three “very good” applications received this year.
He said it was Mr Cook’s desire to become a paramedic that helped him to stand out from the other candidates.
“We felt that Dean’s course would be the most beneficial to the community, as we are quite isolated down here and there is a general shortage of paramedics in Tasmania,” he said.
“It was great to get at least three applicants and hopefully, we will continue to get more in coming years, as $2,000 is a nice amount to encourage young adults to go on to higher education.
“They need all the help they can get and with a good education, the world is their oyster.”
With a desire to push himself, Mr Cook enrolled in the fast-track course, which would see him complete the three-year Bachelor degree in just two-years.
Mr Cook then plans to complete an Honours degree, before moving on to specialise in intensive care.
“I want to eventually become an intensive care paramedic because I really want to push myself,” Mr Cook said.
“It would be great just being a normal paramedic, but with intensive care I would be able to help a lot more people who are experiencing more serious crises.
“And I definitely want to stay in Tasmania because the community has given so much to me, I’ve had a great childhood here and I’d love to give something back.”
Mr Cook said that without South Arm RSL’s financial help, he would not have been able to dedicate as much time to his studies.
“For this course there are a lot of costs involved, such as books, uniform and equipment, and if I hadn’t received the scholarship I would have had to take up additional shifts at work,” he said.
“I’m already under the pump doing the fast-track course, so this would have taken a lot of time away from my studies.
“The scholarship is a great kick-start to my higher education and I am ecstatic that I was chosen.”
For more information about the South Arm RSL scholarship, contact Ron Clegg on 0408 356 915.