STRANGE BUT TRUE COUR­SES

Strange cour­ses have sur­pris­ingly good ca­reer prospects. Lau­ren Ah­wan dis­cov­ers

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Front Page -

F ROM study­ing space to learn­ing how to avoid a dog at­tack – many cour­ses ex­ist for those who want to en­rol in some­thing just that lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent but still have their train­ing linked to a ca­reer.

In one of the most bizarre yet strangely prac­ti­cal cour­ses on of­fer, Syd­ney TAFE will run a one-day dan­ger­ous dog work­shop next month, where par­tic­i­pants will be asked to pull on a pro­tec­tive bite sleeve be­fore sub­ject­ing them­selves to an at­tack by trained dogs.

The work­shop, which will be of­fered again in Au­gust, is aimed at work­ers such as me­ter read­ers, vets, pet groomers, po­lice and am­bu­lance of­fi­cers – and even postal work­ers – who have con­tact with vi­cious dogs.

“The dogs are ex­tremely well trained but, even for the big blokes, when the big ( ger­man) shep­herd comes in, he’s like a Po­laris mis­sile when he hits them,’’ says dog trainer Steve Austin. He says students have pro­tec­tive cloth­ing “but it still gives them a big shock’’.

Niche cour­ses are of­fered at many in­sti­tu­tions. Not al­ways widely pub­li­cised, their lower en­rol­ments can be a boon for grad­u­ates, who may then be in high de­mand with em­ploy­ers.

For ex­am­ple, TAFE spokesman Paul Richards says those who study car wrap­ping – which is taught un­der the wider qual­i­fi­ca­tion of sig­nage and in­volves ap­ply­ing vinyl wrap film to ve­hi­cle pan­els – are keenly sought af­ter.

Richards says sign-writ­ers are also in de­mand, as an in­creas­ing reliance on tech­nol­ogy has caused con­fu­sion over the job and led to fewer students learn­ing the trade.

The ageing pop­u­la­tion is also con­tribut­ing to strong de­mand for funeral op­er­a­tions grad­u­ates, with many states now of­fer­ing sub­sidised cer­tifi­cate III qual­i­fi­ca­tions in funeral op­er­a­tions.

Unique of­fer­ings at a uni­ver­sitylevel in­clude as­tron­omy and world wa­ter man­age­ment cour­ses run through Open Uni­ver­si­ties Aus­tralia’s free on­line course provider, Open2S­tudy, and a South­ern Hemi­sphere Space Stud­ies pro­gram, look­ing at space science and ex­plo­ration for those seek­ing work in the in­ter­na­tional space sec­tor, at the Uni­ver­sity of South Aus­tralia.

Joseph Tor­relli, 26, is part-way through his car wrap­ping ap­pren­tice­ship, study­ing at TAFE.

“I was al­ways arty and liked draw­ing at school so this has been pretty good,’’ he says.

Pic­ture: JOHN FOTIADIS

RAPT: Car wrap­ping stu­dent Joseph Tor­relli knew lit­tle about the job be­fore start­ing but en­joys the op­por­tu­nity to be cre­ative.

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