Thomas Do and Michael Muzzupappa
Thomas Do - TAFE Pathways Ambassador, University of Technology, Sydney
I graduated from high school 10 years ago. Finishing year 12 was confusing for me, as I was unsure which career path I wanted to undertake and was not aware of the many alternate pathways available at the time. I completed a Diploma at TAFE and am now studying at UTS.
I am now working for the TAFE Pathways program, where I visit TAFE and talk to students about my own experience transitioning between high school, TAFE and university, and explore their own opportunities by showing them around campus.
I find that TAFE students and teachers are really interested and often approach me with specific questions. They are like me when I was in that situation, wanting to know more, wanting to understand their options. Not all the information is online: What is university life like? What skills do I need to go to university? Talking to someone who is already in that situation is the most effective way of getting that information. That is what the program does.
I think when I left school the information was already out there, but through the Pathways program people like me actively approach schools and TAFE's to make that information known. The program has changed the environment for students and encouraged broader networks within which information is shared.
Sylvia Nichols - English & Communication Foundation Head Teacher, Sydney TAFE
I teach the Tertiary Preparation Certificate, which is for students who do not have a Higher School Certificate. UTS approached us as part of the Bridges initiative to do some work to encourage our students to apply and enrol at university.
The Pathways program is really about giving extra motivation and confidence to TAFE students to get into university. They become aware that while there are barriers and challenges there are ways around them. They learn where to find the information; they become aware of support services.
I think there has been a really great shift in students' attitudes and where they can see themselves going. I have heard students who had never been to campus before saying this is where I'm going to go in six months time, I'm going to university.
It has been particularly rewarding hearing from university students who have made that transition from TAFE to university, as they identify how they felt at the beginning of their journey to our TAFE students.
Michael Muzzupappa - Student, Tertiary Preparation Certificate, Sydney TAFE
I completed the Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC) at Sydney TAFE last year and was part of the Pathways program. I am now studying a Bachelor of International and Global Studies at University of Technology
The program gave me reassurance about going to university, before that I didn't know what to expect from the university experience. Overall, the most reassuring part about the program was having another person come and tell their story and confirm that what I was doing was going to lead to university.
A student ambassador from UTS talked about their experience of going from being a TAFE student to a student at university. They explained how university worked and the opportunities it presented. It definitely helped and encouraged me by seeing a person who had been through the process and successfully gone on to university. This gave me the extra motivation to do well and finish the course. I am more positive. The Pathways program has helped me build goals; I want to learn about social issues and contribute to the community.