The Gold Coast’s first speech pathology program is celebrating its 10th birthday.

Griffith University established the Master of Speech Pathology course in 2012 in response to the increasing need for services locally.

Since then, more than 300 speech pathologists have graduated, with a large proportion taking up employment locally, and many receiving job offers prior to graduation.

Speech pathologists work with people of all ages who have difficulties with communication and swallowing.

This can include people who stutter, children with language or literacy difficulties, those whose communication has changed after suffering a stroke, and people with swallowing difficulties.

Masters of Speech Pathology alumnus Kiera McClelland is currently working as a speech pathologist in Weipa on the Cape York Peninsula, and credits her teaching team for their knowledge and experience, as well as their support for her desire to work in rural and remote locations.

Kiera McClelland

Masters in Speech Pathology Alumnus Keira McClelland

“We are privileged at Griffith to have such a high class and amazing teaching team,” she said.

“So many of the lecturers are at the leading edge of their field.

“The course was very well structured, with regular placement opportunities which (in my opinion) allows students to best consolidate their learning as it happens.

“Being able to complete my final prac placement on Thursday Island was a steppingstone to my first role with the Aboriginal Medical Service on the Cape, which has brought me to where I am now.

“I got to do outreach clinics on several of the islands as well as the Northern Peninsula area, visit the schools, work with so many amazing families and make some great friendships.”

The Griffith Speech Pathology Program prides itself on offering an innovative curriculum that intersperses cutting-edge learning and teaching activities such as centreing case-based learning, simulations, interprofessional learning opportunities and high levels of placements in real-world work settings.

The students’ learning journey is practical and hands-on, with a strong emphasis on preparing graduates for their future careers.

“There are so many opportunities within the Griffith course — the aphasia social group, dysphagia kitchen, lots of volunteer clinics, and I whole-heartedly encourage people to get involved in them.

“There is such a huge demand for allied health clinicians everywhere right now, and speech pathologists are moving into lots of new and exciting roles including the justice and mental health systems and more transdisciplinary roles than ever before.

“If you are considering a career change or are finishing your undergraduate degree soon, I highly recommend considering speech pathology as an option!”