Student Pathways


Every year, many international students take advantage of the pathway options available to enter their preferred course. In fact, data from Australian Education International shows that most international students study in more than one educational sector during their time in Australia, with many using study in one sector as a pathway into a higher sector.

Some students complete a pathway course in order to meet the academic and English language requirements for Vocational Education and Training (VET) or higher education study at undergraduate or postgraduate level (they might complete secondary education, an English language course or a foundation course in order to gain entry to a higher education degree, for example). Other students decide to progress to a higher qualification after completing their first course in Australia (advancing into a higher education degree after completing a course in the VET sector, for example). 

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) regulates all Australian qualifications and makes it easy to progress from one qualification to the next. It makes it possible to enter a course with lower entry requirements and work your way up to more advanced courses. For example, you could complete a VET diploma, followed by a bachelor degree, and then progress to a postgraduate degree. In some cases, you may even be awarded credit for the study you have already completed, which reduces the total time it will take to complete your qualification. Not all pathways will be accepted by all institutions, so check with your institution to find out which pathways they recognise for entry to your chosen course.

As well as preparing you for the academic and English language requirements of higher-level tertiary study, pathway study also gives you extra time to settle into your new city in Australia, practise the English language and become familiar with the Australian culture and education system before commencing further academic study. It will also give you a new set of skills and knowledge that will be an advantage in your future study experiences and your career.

Student stories

Robby Gupta — India
Diploma of Hotel Management, leading to a Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality ManagementRobby Gupta

Living in London, I’d fallen in love with Adelaide Oval watching the day and night cricket. It was unique to Australia then and I loved its colour and excitement. Having grown up in New Delhi, I wanted to live a very busy lifestyle in a quiet city, so I knew this would be a better place for me. Hearing that Regency TAFE in Adelaide was the best hotel management school in the Southern Hemisphere, I began my Diploma of Hotel Management there.

TAFE teaching is very professional, and the facilities at Regency are the most up to date. I worked in the latest kitchens, training restaurants and front-of-house facilities with current technology. Many teachers are internationally known professionals, and chefs from the Adelaide Hilton taught us many different cuisines.

The whole TAFE culture was really nice. The staff were very helpful and they knew about different cultures. They organised events for us like the Indian Festival of Light, which made me feel that little bit more welcome. I loved my time there and enjoyed every subject. I studied front-of-house, wine studies, food service, accounting and human resources. My TAFE diploma took me into the Bachelor of Tourism and Hotel Management at the University of South Australia. I only needed one year to finish my degree because I had done the diploma. Now in my working day I can apply my education and knowledge to every job that people do in my restaurants and catering business. I did two other courses at TAFE — computer science and commercial cookery — because I wanted to understand every aspect of my business.

Education in this country is fun. I have found Australian education and my TAFE study practical, industry-based and enjoyable. Now I would say to students: learn and have fun… it’s an experience!

Zhou Quan — China
Advanced Diploma of Screen (Film and Television Production), leading to a Bachelor of Communication (Media)

Zhou Quan

I was 17 when I first arrived in Melbourne. My high school, Shaoxing No.1 High School, had an exchange program with Balwyn High School when I was in second year (equivalent to Year 11 in Australia). Before I went abroad, my dream was to be a journalist or TV reporter. I picked the media class at Balwyn High School, and that made me want to be a filmmaker. We watched and analysed Hitchcock’s Psycho and I was thrilled about the impact of cinema. The teacher of the media class recommended I go to RMIT as the film course there is hands-on and practical.

I completed the Advanced Diploma of Screen (Film and Television Production) at RMIT. It was a three-year course. Studying at TAFE gave me a great opportunity to practise the technical side of filmmaking. I articulated from the TAFE course to complete the Bachelor of Communication (Media) at RMIT. The bachelor degree was supposed to be three years, but my TAFE credits covered half of it. I think TAFE gave me more practical experience than university, and I felt that I had a better understanding of technical aspects than other students when we were doing group assignments at university. The films that we made during the TAFE course were much more hands-on than the ones we did in university, but the university classes gave me better knowledge of the history of cinema and the contemporary situation of the film industry. In order to be a professional filmmaker, both are necessary.

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