Erica Watson took an unusual path to higher education. After dropping out of college and working as a roofer for ten years, she was motivated to make a career change and go to university.
Ms Watson started out in a double degree in medical science and arts at Australian National University but then switched to a purely arts degree.
"I'm a mature-aged student so I thought maybe I should be doing something that could get me a job and I thought a bachelor of medical science could be good because that could take me places.
"But when I started actually studying I realised that it was more important for me to be studying something that I love and something that will change me as a person and expand my mind."
Ms Watson now intends to continue her education with a double honours in English and philosophy.
She said she was concerned future students might end up in her situation, choosing a path in science because of job prospects rather that following their passion, once the federal government's job-ready graduates package takes effect.
The reforms would reduce the student contribution for those studying science, engineering and IT courses by 20 per cent while the cost of maths courses would drop by 62 per cent.
The new scheme would also reduce the overall funding per student per year by $4758 for science and engineering courses and by $3513 for maths degrees.
Science and Technology Australia's chief executive Misha Schubert said the fee reduction was a good step in signaling the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) but there was more to be done at a school level.
"This has opened an important public conversation about why those skills are important in our future economy... but we also know that we need to continue our efforts to encourage students in their primary and high school years to think about STEM study, to choose STEM subjects and to be excited by the prospect of STEM careers."
Ms Schubert said the skills shortage was particularly noticeable in information technology.
Australian Science Teachers Association chief executive Shenal Basnayake said there was a disconnect between changes at the tertiary level and what was required to promote STEM at a secondary level.
"We're going to have to skill-up, we're going to have to have more resources going in at the school level to be able to help meet those targets," he said.
"Just because a degree is cheaper isn't necessarily influence students to go down a particular path."
Mr Basnayake said there was value in all disciplines and students should be given options to explore their interests rather than be given financial incentives to take certain pathways.
"You need all types of disciplines to make the world function. You can't just have STEM graduates," he said.
"Even companies that rely on or have a very strong focus on STEM, you have all of those other people involved in it."
By following her passion, Ms Watson said she has also picked up valuable skills for the workplace.
"It teaches you how to think, how to write, critical thinking, research, even interpersonal skills.
"I think these are all skills that could be used in the workplace as well."