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How to make the most of your vocational diploma

A guide to using a diploma as a stepping stone to further your career.
How to make the most of your vocational diploma


Vocational Education and Training is proving its worth in the arts and entertainment industries, providing many recent graduates with the necessary skills and qualifications they need to find entry-level positions in the arts.

But for a slightly older cohort, a diploma course has also become a pivotal opportunity for a change of career.

This was the case for a former NIDA student, Michael Delpin, who recently landed a season contract with Opera Australia. A little over a year ago he was working as an electrician, a job he had started at the age of sixteen, but was considering a change of career to the entertainment industry.

He undertook a Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services and has since worked at the Sydney Opera House, helped build a new theatre on the Central Coast, and is now working with Opera Australia.

‘He has gone from working in a completely different industry this time last year to now being picked up by Opera Australia. That’s a real success story,’ said Jane Newton, NIDA Vocational Education and Training (VET) Manager.

Also a pathway to further study

For another former student Ethan Shepherd, who had worked in the hospitality industry for several years as a chef and desired a complete change of scene, the diploma became a stepping stone to a higher education degree that he had never imagined.

‘He did so well and just really fell in love with the industry and studying at NIDA, so he decided to apply for NIDA’s three-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (Technical Production and Stage Management) course and, much to his delight, he was accepted,’ said Newton.

‘The fact that our graduates have had such success moving straight into the industry or on to further study, suggests that our diplomas deliver the knowledge and practical experience needed to be a crucial step in one’s career.’

For more information about Vocational Diploma courses at NIDA, visit

Brooke Boland

Thursday 26 May, 2016

About the author

Brooke Boland is a freelance writer based on the South Coast of NSW. She has a PhD in literature from the University of NSW. You can find her on Instagram @southcoastwriter.