Upskilling for success

Skills, qualifications and a wealth of new opportunities are just some of benefits on offer through the new STEM Upskilling Program.

CAPTIONAble Seaman Darren is enhancing his qualifications through the STEM Upskilling Program. Story by Lieutenant Rebecca Williamson. Photo by Chief Petty Officer Yuri Ramsey.

And with new and sophisticated technology on the horizon, it was an easy decision for marine technician submariner Able Seaman Darren to join the program when it was announced earlier this year.

“I was at a briefing and they spoke about the upskilling program, so I applied for the year 12 maths units because it sounded like a great opportunity,” he said.

“Firstly, it gives you an opportunity to upskill, whether you want to work on nuclear submarines in the future or not.

“But for me, enhancing my prospects ​of being selected to go to the United States Navy Nuclear Power School and further upskill there is an exciting one, because I’ve always been interested in the nuclear side of things. I find it quite intriguing and I always like to educate and further myself.”

Now a few months into the program, Able Seaman Darren has no regrets.

“I am a huge advocate for the program. The process from initially being interested to being enrolled in TAFE was so simple and you can be reimbursed upfront or you can send the invoice through to be paid directly,” he said.

Once enrolled, the first step is a test to establish where a person is at so teachers can can provide individual levels of support.

“So far the subjects have all been very approachable. You start with some basics as a bit of a refresher then you build your skills from there.”

Able Seaman Darren has found the support and resources exceptional, and said people don’t even need to be computer-savvy to do these courses.

“The TAFE provide a lot of step-by-step directions through each topic, and the teachers are really responsive and happy to give you plenty of their time,” he said.

He admitted it could sometimes be a challenge to fit in his study.

“Like anything, there are some challenges, such as disciplining yourself to study and finding a bit of balance between work and family life, etc. But, it is a really flexible program because it is all online and you can take it at your own pace.”

“Overall, I can’t rate the program enough and would strongly encourage others considering it to just give it a go.”

The STEM Upskilling Program is fully online and flexible, offering maths and physics qualifications at both high school and first-year university levels.


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