Published on 3 May 2016
Burrum Heads' Darren Smith is swapping building homes and drilling for gold for university study as he pursues his goal of becoming an engineer.
The qualified carpenter, who left school before finishing Year 11 to start his apprenticeship, is enrolled this semester in the University of the Sunshine Coast’s university bridging program, the Tertiary Preparation Pathway.
After leaving the building industry about three years ago to work his way around Australia as an exploration driller, Darren, 41, decided that the time was right to start his journey towards becoming a civil and construction engineer.
“Working as a carpenter for 25 years certainly sparked my interest in engineering and so did gaining my qualifications as a certified driller,” he said.
“I’ve drilled for gold at Cracow, worked at a lead and zinc mine near Cloncurry, carried out general exploration at Boulia, drilled for iron ore at Whyalla and also worked in mines at Parkes.”
“In all this time, engineering is something that has always intrigued me,” Darren said.
“I had talked about going to university, but having been away from school for so long I wasn’t sure how to go about it until an outrigging friend, who is a teacher, mentioned USC’s Tertiary Preparation Pathway,” he said.
“The advantage of having three USC campuses in such close proximity to each other is that it gives you great flexibility to work out a plan and schedule to suit your own individual needs,” he said.
As part of his study program, Darren has enrolled in a subject in mathematical methods for science and engineering to help him prepare for entry into a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) at USC next semester.
Darren hopes his experience as a carpenter and a certified driller will also provide a practical insight into the engineering study program.
Applications are now open for mid-year entry into the TPP program at USC Fraser Coast. TPP can be studied full-time (four subjects over one semester), or part-time, and subjects completed as part of the program are free of charge for Australian students.
Upon successful completion of TPP, students can gain direct entry into most USC degrees. Find more information about mid-year enrolments at USC.
— Clare McKay