One of the top engineering firms in Adelaide, Robert Bird Group employs civil engineers who work on major constructions in Australia and globally. Structural draftsman, Saverio Vasapollo, says his job is extremely rewarding.
His current focus is modelling bridges that are part of the Cross River Rail project, a major infrastructure development in Brisbane.
“It is very exciting because I get to be part of some very important projects,” says Saverio.
Saverio didn’t start in structural engineering. He initially studied a Diploma of Information Technology in his homeland of Italy, before moving to Sydney to work as a site supervisor at Northwest Construction Group. It was here that Saverio’s employer encouraged him into further study. He chose an Associate Degree in Civil and Structural Engineering at TAFE SA, a course that is accredited by the professional body Engineers Australia, and moved with his family to Adelaide to pursue his dream.
He is now in his final semester of the degree at TAFE SA.
“The Associate Degree in Civil and Structural Engineering is very demanding, but the students gain very valuable knowledge,” says Saverio.
Studying an Associate Degree in Engineering at TAFE SA
“The campus is well equipped, and the teachers are supportive of my own creativity, so I have had a very positive experience.”
Saverio enjoys science, math and technology subjects and the Associate Degree course at TAFE SA allowed him to apply his IT knowledge to the construction experience he had.
“This course at TAFE SA is quite industry-orientated. All the lecturers have industry experience so they understand how to help students appropriately,” says Saverio.
Saverio says skills in drafting are rapidly changing. He uses building information modelling, a technique that involves creating 3D models that are as accurate as the final building.
“This helps to prevent mistakes in the construction, ensure safety, and provide more accuracy with schedules and materials,” he says.
“I’m fortunate to be working in such an innovative environment, as the technology is cutting edge, both here and in the work the company does overseas.”
Looking at the future
An emphasis on applied learning with a focus on employment outcomes makes TAFE SA graduates highly employable in the eyes of industry.
Students seeking a different higher education experience with smaller classes and more interaction with fellow students and lecturers will enjoy their experience at TAFE SA. Students can also use the Associate Degree to go on to a full Bachelor of Engineering degree at any of the three South Australian public universities.
“In the future, thanks to this course I will be able to enrol in university, finish the Bachelor’s degree and become an engineer. Maybe I will write a PhD thesis myself one day, who knows?” says Saverio.
About TAFE SA
TAFE SA is known for its quality vocational education and training, but it also offers a range of specialised higher education courses.
As a dual-sector VET/Higher Education provider, TAFE SA offers unique benefits to higher education students.
TAFE SA’s five Associate Degrees include Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Civil and Structural Engineering (Design Drafting), Civil and Structural Engineering (Site Management) and Electronic Engineering.
They have been developed in consultation with industry to meet specific skills requirements. Students gain industry-specific knowledge, practical skills and an accredited qualification, making them job-ready on graduation. – Astha Singh
Saverio’s career path
- Diploma of Information Technology | Institute of Technology Calamandrei, Florence
- Technical and Customer Support Adviser, Web Science, Milan
- Site Supervisor, Northwest Construction Group, Sydney
- Pathway course to Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil and Structural) /University of Adelaide
- Associate Degree in Civil & Structural Engineering (Design Drafting/Site Management), TAFE SA
Keen to know more about alternative pathways you can kickstart at TAFE? Head here for important dates and more info on specific courses.
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Author: Dr Astha Singh
Astha is the Managing Editor at Refraction Media. She is a STEM Marketer and holds a Honors, Masters & PhD degree in Science. She has been producing STEM marketing content for over 10 years and is an avid advocate of Diversity in the STEM industry.