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Stitching up a surgical career thanks to TAFE NSW

Stitching up a surgical career thanks to TAFE NSW

With HSC results now released, a TAFE NSW graduate is urging young people to consider an alternate path to their dream career if they don’t get the ATAR they were hoping for.

According to a report by the National Skills Commission, people with post school qualifications generally have better employment outcomes than those who have not completed further education after leaving school.

In 2019, the median weekly earnings for an employee with a certificate III or IV was $1150 while the medium weekly earnings for an employee with no post-school qualification was $820.

Parramatta local Frederick Webb left school at the end of year 10 and was unsure what career he should pursue. After completing a medical administration traineeship at a general practice in the Hawkesbury and working there for a year, Frederick decided he wanted to pursue a full-time career in medicine.

“I needed a way to get into the university system, and, having no desire to return to school, I looked for alternatives. TAFE offered both the HSC and the Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC) at the time,” Frederick said.

“I contemplated both, but the TPC curriculum was better suited to my interests and could be completed in one year, so that is the course I decided to take. The adult learning environment worked well for me, and the way the timetable structure allowed for me to work part-time.”

TAFE NSW offers two ways to complete a Year 12 equivalent. The HSC at TAFE NSW can be undertaken at any time as an alternative to the HSC at school. The course takes place over two years and students graduate with an ATAR.

The TPC is aimed at providing students of all ages with an alternate option for completing year 12 and gaining a recognised Tertiary Entry Score accepted by the University Admissions Centre. Graduates can go on to pursue higher education, enter the defence force or pursue further vocational education and training.

TAFE NSW Educational Pathways teacher Elizabeth Fischer said the TPC is first and foremost an academic course, teaching students how to learn, how to reason and how to research, in preparation for further tertiary or university studies. 

“The TPC is perfect for anyone who had an incomplete schooling experience, or wants to further their tertiary education or employment prospects,” Ms Fischer said.

“The TPC not only gives students practical skills in researching and writing essays, and a recognised Tertiary Entry Score, it gives them increased confidence in their abilities and sets up a strong educational foundation that will serve them for the rest of their lives.”  

The Tertiary Entrance Score Frederick received upon completion of the TPC allowed him to commence a bachelor of medical sonography and he has now transferred to the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at Western Sydney University.

“If all goes to plan, I should graduate at the end of 2022,” Frederick said.

“The best part about studying at TAFE NSW was the community - not only the other students, but the facilitators and support staff as well. I made many friends very quickly, some of whom I am still in contact with now several years down the track. The facilitators were incredibly passionate and patient and went out of their way to provide any extra help I needed to understand the concepts taught in class”.

To learn more about Tertiary Preparation Study and employability pathways available at TAFE NSW head to or phone 131 601.   

Media contact: Alice Dalley, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, mobile 0402 528 210.