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TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour


Jon McMillan working on a game at TAFE NSW

Picture this, you’re trapped in a lab with people doing experiments on you and you need to escape. Once you get out, you’re trapped in another room and need to find a code hidden in the room to unlock a door. Again, once you do you get out of that room, you have the option to sneak away and risk being caught or to front up and fight the bad guys.

In a virtual reality game which Coffs Harbour local and TAFE NSW graduate Jon McMillan created, those are the challenges you’ll face just to get through a level.

Mr McMillan studied a Diploma of Digital and Interactive Games at TAFE NSW, graduating in 2017. He has since started his own business and is now completing his Certificate IV in Training and Assessment so that he can pass on his skills to students at TAFE NSW.

Jon was interested in gaming from a young age and that was often the hot topic during recess at school. As an adult, he is turning that childhood passion into a career.

“The career options are endless in the gaming industry. You can do photography, videography, act, voice record, design, write scripts. Whatever creative outlet interests you…and that’s just to create one game.”

Teacher of Information Technology & Creative Industries at TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour, Jason Vallely, said the global games market was on track to be worth about $190 billion this year and is expected to grow at about 10 per cent a year for the next three years. About half of that revenue is expected to be generated in the Asia-Pacific, on Australia’s doorstep.

“We are seeing many more jobs in gaming come online and that will continue to grow.”

Australia’s professional gaming tournament industry – known as eSports – is predicted to grow in value from $8 million in 2017 to $21 million by 2022.

“There’s this whole generation that are growing up with games as their main form of entertainment and businesses of all types need to cater to them or miss out,” Mr Vallely said.

“That means businesses are ‘gameifying’ their products and marketing to make them more digitally attractive.

“If young people gain formal training in game programming skills now, they can position themselves to be the movers and shakers in the new way of doing business in the future.”

TAFE NSW offers a host of gaming related courses including Bachelor of 3D Art and Animation, Diploma of Digital and Interactive Games and short courses if you just want a taster. These can also be studied online, when and where it suits students, via TAFE Digital.

For more detail on TAFE NSW courses, face-to-face or online, visit or call 131 601.