Dianne Spencer

Meet ACAP Graduate Dianne Spencer

Dianne graduated with a Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) in 2013 through a combination of online study and on-campus study in Brisbane. She runs the Breaking Free Healing Centre on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Why did you choose ACAP?

I chose ACAP after much research because of the flexibility it offered; I was impressed by the range of options which enabled me to study online at my own convenience whilst still providing me with the opportunity for peer-interaction and support services. ACAP was definitely the right place to study for me. 

Describe your ACAP experience.

Studying at ACAP was everything I expected and so much more. The online modules were easy to access and the online forums allowed me to discuss topics and ideas with my classmates. The support from the administration and teaching staff was fast and efficient.

I really enjoyed having the ability to attend summer school on campus, which provided me with the full tertiary education experience. It provided me with hands-on experience that was an invaluable part of my studies and gave me the reassurance that I was, indeed, gaining the competencies I needed in my chosen field.

I graduated in May 2013 and since then I have been delighted by all of the ongoing Professional Development Workshops offered. I have attended every workshop offered in Queensland! I have learnt so much and gained many new skills and helpful industry information from these that I now use in my work on a daily basis.

How has studying with ACAP benefited you?

I established Breaking Free, a non-profit community organisation offering a range of counselling services and recovery programs, in 1997. Studing the Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) complemented my previous studies and provided me with new skills which have helped me to run Breaking Free.

I started studying at ACAP just before a very unexpected and challenging period in my life began. However, studying gave me a sense of purpose and clarity amidst the chaos of my life at that time. It enabled me to find a central focus which helped me harness my energy levels which, in turn, benefited all areas of my life.

Soon after graduating from ACAP in 2013, I was awarded the Open Minds Mental Health Week Achievement Award and was a finalist in the Origin Energy Queensland Regional Services Awards. In 2014 Breaking Free has been voted by the Sunshine Coast community as the winner of the Channel 7 and Red Rooster Community Hero Competition. 

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to expand Breaking Free's services and to increase our profile and public awareness across Australia. Breaking Free is also planning to secure funding to enable us to offer and expand our services to the wider community and to provide sponsorship to those who are unable to pay for the services we provide.

What would you say to someone considering studying at ACAP?

I think lots of people are afraid to make the decision to study and keep putting it off because they are afraid of the extra pressures and stress that they believe study will place on their lives. If you have a goal or desire to achieve that diploma or degree and you want to make a difference in the world, then give it a go. Don't let anything stop you; do not let your doubts and fears control your decision.