No uni, no worries: Upskill in Engineering with alternative study paths

Diploma of Engineering, TAFE and alternative study paths

There are plenty of alternative pathways to get into engineering beyond a Bachelor degree. You can gain certification through a TAFE program or complete a year-long Diploma of Engineering so you can jump straight into work or further study: your choice!

STEMship program

Do you like taking things apart and figuring out exactly how they work? If you’re intrigued by working in industries like manufacturing, engineering or electronics, but uni isn’t for you, a program like STEMship could be just your thing.

STEMship is an Australian-first VET pathway for high school students as an alternative to University. The 15-week program has kicked off in May this year, accepting 16 students in Years 10-12 from the Hunter Region.

Year 11 student Zane Folpp is looking forward to gaining practical skills which will prepare him directly for a job in advanced manufacturing. “I am very interested in the engineering and manufacturing side of things and enjoy getting my hands dirty, pulling things apart and putting them back together”, says Zane. “I believe that by doing this program and having valuable contact with industries, I will be a step above other candidates.”

Completing STEMship will provide Zane and the other students with a full Certificate III in Engineering – Technical, as well as a month-long practical industry placement. TAFE NSW Head of SkillsPoint, Karen Humphreys, says that “it’s our job to ensure students are equipped with real, practical skills and experience needed to be in demand and get the job they want.”

Learn more and view courses online at

Advanced Diploma of Engineering, RMIT

Former tradie Rory Geoghegan was considering training to become an electrician when he enrolled in a Certificate IV in Telecommunications at TAFE. But along the way, he discovered that network infrastructure – all of the hardware and software resources that support computing, like servers and routers – was what he was really interested in.

Rory has since completed an Advanced Diploma of Computer Systems (CS) Engineering at RMIT. He loved the course because it gave him a great background in networks and completely prepared him for industry certification.

Through his diploma, Rory has gained entry into a Bachelor of Engineering (Computers & Networks, Hons.) at RMIT and is working part-time as an e-learning assistant. “My favourite thing about CS engineering is that it’s challenging, it really makes you think”, says Rory.

Diploma of Engineering, UTS:Insearch

Andrew Moon was always interested in technology and gadgets: even as a kid he enjoyed disassembling computers to see how they worked. Andrew worked in sales after high school, but he was keen to expand his skill set and find a career he was passionate about, so he enrolled in a Diploma of Software Engineering through the UTS:Insearch program.

He found the program to be “a great stepping stone into further study: the requirements are really clear and the small cohort meant that you could develop close friendships with fellow students.”

Andrew, who is now studying a Bachelor of Software Engineering at UTS, works part time at a tech start-up which uses visual recognition software to correctly identify fresh produce for self-serve checkouts. Andrew says that “machine learning and artificial intelligence have a lot of applications which can enhance our lives, and I want to be a part of that change.”


– Larissa Fedunik-Hofman

artificial intelligence
Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.


  1. You can also study a DIPLOMA in CIVIL CONSTRUCTION DESIGN at TAFENSW. This can give you entry & exemptions to Wollongong University in the Engineering Degree (when studying at the Illawarra Campus-Wollongong) or provide you with the basis for a career in Structural Design (CAD Drafting) in an Engineering Firm to a Geo technical career.

  2. Or Study Surveying, Certificate III, IV & Diploma over 2 years full time. This is a skills shortage area. You can then go onto gain exemptions from Newcastle University or University of Southern Queensland studying online.


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