MPR: QUV001 ED: PUB: QUV Marketer Louise D’Amico (above right) began her tertiary studies at TAFE, which ultimately saved her thousands in HECS fees on her bachelor’s degree.
At TAFE, practical skills and great support are only the beginning
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DUX MAGAZINE 2008 - NORTH
Ahead by degrees IKE many students, Louise D’Amico wasn’t sure what she wanted to do upon finishing year 12. But three years later, after a stint working fulltime in retail, the young Melburnian decided to resume study. She chose an advanced diploma of business marketing at Swinburne TAFE. When that two-year course finished, Louise felt she was firmly on track with her chosen career. She then applied – successfully – for a place in the Bachelor of Business in Marketing at Swinburne University of Technology. While finishing her degree part-time – she will complete it this year – Louise works full-time at Swinburne as an undergraduate recruitment officer. ‘‘TAFE is really good for students who aren’t sure what they want to do,’’ she says. Louise, now 27, also recommends it for students
who are not particularly independent. ‘‘Obviously at university you have to be a bit more independent and you have to manage your own time and have good organisational skills,’’ she says. ‘‘TAFE is really good for transition from school because it’s a lot like high school in terms of its structure. ‘‘So you’re with the same group of people throughout the qualification, you motivate each other, you work together, you have the same teachers. ‘‘And I was given credit for my TAFE course, so was exempt from half the three-year degree.’’ While money was not the driver for Louise’s tertiary pathway, it is true that she saved thousands in HECS fees compared with students who did not come to their undergraduate course with TAFE credit. University of Ballarat associate professor in education Barry Golding agreed some students
realised completing part of their study at TAFE before moving to university meant costs were significantly lowered. ‘‘Some families are canny enough to know that,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s the HECS debt that is the incentive; the benefits students receive in terms of their living allowance and the like are identical at both institutions so the only difference is there is no HECS [fee at TAFE].’’ Dr Golding estimates that students who complete some study at a TAFE rather than starting their course at university will save at least $4000 during a full year of study – and that’s after TAFE fees are taken into account. ‘‘In comparison to university, there’s a few words I’d use: TAFE is short, sharp, cheap and vocationally specific, and they’re the things that attract people,’’ he says. – SHAUNAGH O’CONNOR
Published on Dec 17, 2008