Hittin' the road - Episode 17: Campbelltown

We've tapped into a large creative vibe in the local surrounding neighbourhoods, so we've been able to position the Campus as a creative hub

Campbelltown TAFE is a large sprawling campus located on a grassy knoll on the outskirts of town, just a stone's throw from the M5. The grounds have lots of beautiful native flower gardens and towering gum trees, making this a wonderful environment for learning and creativity.

And be sure, there's loads of creativity here. While the College has many strings to its bow, such as automotive repair, child studies and food and hospitality, its two signature areas are graphic design and digital media.

We were introduced to a Certificate IV in Interactive Digital Media class that was currently underway. Most of the students were pretty eager to show us what they were working on. Even just a casual look at each Mac screen in the room, one after the other, showed a huge variety of content, styles and influences at play. The head teacher, Lutfi, explained that class assessments include cool things like students filming their own bios and making mock TV commercials.

We chatted with student Vlaudin, who told us he'd always been good at drawing and doodling when he was younger, and didn't want to spend his working life digging potholes and sweating in the sun. "Being creative is a lot more satisfying," he said. "It's kind of like my stamp on the world. I get to put a bit of myself into every job or illustration or whatever I'm working on."

So where does he see himself going after he finishes his TAFE studies?

"I'd like to do a bit of freelance graphic design work just to get my foot in the door, and then hopefully get into a company somewhere down the track," he said. "I do a few family jobs here and there. My Dad has a wine business and I did the website for him. I've got a good base knowledge of illustrating and PhotoShop and all that, but I still need to hone my skills a bit more first so that I'll have an awesome portfolio at the end of my studies here."

In true grassroots TAFE tradition, Campbelltown College has also forged strong collaborative relationships with its local community, including both Campbelltown and Camden Councils.

"We've tapped into a large creative vibe in the local surrounding neighbourhoods, so we've been able to position the Campus as a creative hub," Lutfi said. "For example, some of our students recently produced some decal designs for Campbelltown Council. It even made the local headlines. We also do a lot of video production for Council's youth services. This gives students the opportunity to work with a real client, building realistic expectations of working relationships."

As we were leaving we checked out the College's photographic and art exhibition studios downstairs from the classrooms. The hallways were all displaying students' photography and artwork, as well as posters and banners for the community events the College has been involved with. Further testimony (not that any more was needed) to the great creative pulse of Campbelltown TAFE.