Patrician Brothers’ College, Fairfield teacher Warren Dunbar can remember when students would say ‘I want to be a civil engineer’.
“... because that’s all they thought it was. Now students do mechatronic, aeronautical, biomedical and civil engineering – the whole gamut,” he said.
Mr Dunbar, the Technical and Applied Studies (TAS) leader of learning, is at the helm of revolution at the school with almost all of the college’s 1100 students now studying a TAS subject in their purpose-built building which opened in 2015.
Engineering Studies, Software Design and Development, Information Design and Technology, Metals and Engineering, Hospitality, Construction, Furniture, Multimedia and Graphics Technology are among the 21 electives in years 9 to 12.
“TAS teachers love their subject because it’s a problem-solving subject,” said Mr Dubar, who has taught at the college for 37 years.
“It equips the students for life. The facilities allow them to maximise their creativity and to produce the very best product they possibly can.
“The students who do well inspire the others. We say to them ‘this could be you if you are dedicated and work well. We’ve got the equipment, the facilities and great staff here – there’s nothing stopping you but you’.”
The TAS block, which includes a designated multimedia area with a recording studio and commercial-grade kitchens – has seen a spike in the number of students interested in engineering careers post school.
Last year, year 12 graduate Adam Scicluna even received a scholarship to study Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Technology Sydney.
Students also have access to an advanced manufacturing section, which includes laser and 3D printers, vacuum formers and other machinery to help produce prototypes for major works.
They can also enrol in an accelerated Software Design and Development course which includes an excursion to Google’s Sydney headquarters, where a former student works in management.