Douglas Finch with wife Josie and child Evelyn.

Boilermaker turned law student Douglas Finch has come a long way since he first opened his course materials and thought to himself ‘what have I got myself into?’.

The 33-year-old was working as a pipefitter on a gas project in the Surat Basin at the time, juggling long days at work with online study.

“I would finish an 11-hour shift, come back to the mining accommodation camp, have a shower, something to eat and then get stuck into the books for four hours” he said.

Mr Finch spent a decade working in mines and on construction projects.

“Between 2005 and 2014, I hadn’t spent a full year at home because I was constantly away for work,” he said.

Keen for a change, he enrolled in USQ’s Bachelor of Laws.

Now, he has landed a highly sought-after position at the Supreme Court of Queensland as a Judge’s Associate.

Judge’s Associates are personal and confidential aides to judges in and out of court. They assist in everything from carrying books to the courtroom to undertaking legal research and proofreading judgements.

Mr Finch, who is in his fourth year at USQ Springfield completing his Honours degree in Laws, will start in the role in January 2019.

“I am absolutely chuffed, it’s a big honour,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to learn from someone who is at the forefront of where court law is not only being wielded but also made.

“I know it’s going to be tough but it’s also going to be really rewarding – I can’t wait to start.”

Mr Finch has a keen interest in commercial and construction law.

“Studying at USQ has been a life-changing experience and I am extremely grateful for all the support I have received over the last four years,” he said.

Mr Finch and wife Josie welcomed their first child Evelyn in January and the proud dad said family was a motivating factor for him.

“My wife and my father (Lachlan) have both been extremely supportive, and being a father myself now, I have more reason to work hard to ensure I have a long career in the legal industry,” he said.