08 May 2024

Attendees at the Whyalla allied health launch
Whyalla Mayor Phill Stone, Professor Jon Buckley, Professor Esther May and Paul Havelberg with UniSA physiotherapy and occupational therapy students at the launch 

The University of South Australia is helping to boost SA’s regional health workforce with the first cohort in its Whyalla-based Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy degrees underway, in the programs’ inaugural year.

A launch event was held last week for the Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) and Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) at UniSA’s Whyalla campus. The two degrees are the first fully-accredited honours degrees of their kind to be offered in regional South Australia and are being delivered alongside UniSA’s health degrees in nursing and midwifery.

Students benefit from UniSA’s five-decades of experience in allied health education and enjoy the same teaching and learning quality and outcomes as their city-based peers. Interest in the new Whyalla offerings is expected to grow year-on-year, inline with awareness of the programs and of the high regional demand for these professions.

UniSA’s Whyalla campus has undergone refurbishments to provide a modern teaching space for the programs, which include the installation of new equipment and technology.

The launch event featured a Welcome to Country by local Barngarla woman Kelly Abdulla. UniSA Executive Dean, Allied Health and Human Performance Professor Jon Buckley, Pro Vice Chancellor Teaching & Learning Professor Esther May and Whyalla Regional Manager Paul Havelberg spoke about the importance of supporting regional communities with higher education opportunities and thanked the community for their support.    

“South Australia faces significant allied health workforce shortages which are acutely felt in regional areas", says Prof Buckley.

“Providing the Whyalla community with the opportunity to study these degrees at the local level aligns with the South Australian Government’s Rural Allied and Scientific Health Workforce Plan 2021-2026, and improves access to education for rural, regional and remote students who may not have otherwise chosen to study an allied health degree.” 

The four-year physiotherapy and occupational therapy honours degrees join the Whyalla campus’ existing suite of nursing, midwifery, social work, human services and ageing and disability offerings, as well as its suite of 100% online degrees including psychology, public health and aged care delivered through UniSA Online.

UniSA’s Department of Rural Health is supporting students’ connections with industry and clinical placements, almost all of which will be completed in-region. Students will also benefit from the multi-disciplinary learning opportunities offered at the on-campus Health Clinic.

“UniSA has a deep and lasting commitment to rural and remote South Australia and we are committed to working with local communities to contribute to the social, intellectual, economic, and cultural development of the regions,” said Prof Buckley.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the State’s regional communities and industry partners to deliver what’s most needed in the regions.”


Media contact: Megan Andrews M: +61 434 819 275 E: megan.andrews@unisa.edu.au

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