STRANGE BUT TRUE COURSES
Strange courses have surprisingly good career prospects. Lauren Ahwan discovers
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.
RAPT: Car wrapping student Joseph Torrelli knew little about the job before starting but enjoys the opportunity to be creative.