University students directly address challenges faced by developing nation22 November 2016

Students Karen Foster-Inostroza, Andrew Litschner, Nathan Bambling, and Grant Chapman with Senior Lecturer Dr David Parker. 

Four UQ Business School students recently travelled to the Cook Islands, where they worked closely with government departments to establish and run projects which have benefited the local community.

The Master of Project Management students’ initiatives ranged from promoting vital health services and the rights of patients to developing an infrastructure master plan for the community’s transportation system. The students collaborated with two Cook Islands government departments, Cook Islands Infrastructure and Ministry of Health, to deliver these initiatives.

Nathan Bambling, a student on the trip and experienced urban planner, said that he is optimistic about the outcome of his project.

“Throughout my time working with Cook Islands Infrastructure, I learnt that the passion and enthusiasm of the employees are the driving force of change and progress within the department,” Mr Bambling said.

“With time and resources invested within this area, I have no doubt that Cook Islands Infrastructure will excel in bringing about world class infrastructure plans for the islands.”

Senior Lecturer Dr David Parker, whose strong relationships in the Pacific region facilitated the trip, said that the program forces students to adapt to an increasingly globalised world.

“The UQ Business School Master Degree in Project Management reflects the fact that many projects are undertaken internationally and thereby contain unique features including new cultures, geographic challenges and technological restrictions,” said Dr Parker.

“Developing nations such as the Cook Islands require students to apply their skills in unique ways. Students are exposed to and confronted with a range of personal and professional challenges that enhance their existing range of competencies.

“Such experiential and applied situations cannot be simulated in a classroom.”

Dr Parker said successful approaches were taken by each student to address challenges facing the Cook Islands community.

“The postgraduate students brought years of work experience and technical training with them, which allowed new ideas and methods to be introduced to the Cook Islands. The resulting gain in productivity will benefit the community and social development.”

The Cook Islands project is expected to continue for students studying a Master of Project Management in 2017.

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