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Advancing his career

Dave Brookes is enjoying his new career in drone technology thanks to the Advance Queensland - TAFE Queensland Pathways Scholarship program.

In his previous life Dave Brookes was a beekeeper in Scotland, responsible for 450 hives that produced 14 tonnes of honey a year. Now, the 51-year-old has just started a new career in electronics thanks to the Advance Queensland - TAFE Queensland Pathways Scholarship program.

Mr Brookes received a $10,000 scholarship enabling him to complete the Certificate III in Engineering - Electrical/Electronic Trade (MEM30405) at TAFE Queensland’s Ashmore campus. The course was offered with a unique specialisation in drone technology thanks to the Advance Queensland scholarship program.

Mr Brookes is thrilled to be kick starting a new career in electronics, an area he's been interested in his whole life.

“I’m graduating with job-ready skills and I can’t wait to get started. Electronics theory, diagnostics and hand skills can all be applied to any area of electronic design or repair, just as the computer aided design can be applied across a range of computer aided manufacturing applications such as 3D printing," Mr Brookes said.

After completing his vocational placement at Laserdyne Technologies in Molendinar, Mr Brookes secured full-time employment at the defence-based business that develops and manufactures military and paramilitary electro-optic products.

Mr Brookes said that without the scholarship and his training at TAFE Queensland he would not have had the chance to follow his passion.

“On paper I didn’t have any experience so applying for jobs in electronics was pretty much impossible. The scholarship has opened a new door for me and now that I have graduated I have the skills and confidence I need to add value to my employer," he said.

Although he's now reaping the benefits of his new qualification, Mr Brookes wasn't always so keen on going back to study.

“Studying at a mature age was daunting at first for me, but my family was incredibly supportive and I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to kick some personal and professional goals this year,” Mr Brookes said.

“I thought studying was going to be really difficult at my age, but I’m so glad I’ve done it now — it’s been such a positive experience. I’m now even thinking of studying further with my newfound love of learning at my age,” he said.

Studying this specialised course in drone technology gives students a foot in the door of an emerging market both in the domestic and commercial spaces with drones being utilised for new applications all the time.

As part of the course students also obtain a Remote Pilots Licence (RePL) which allows them to earn an income working for licences companies performing operations with drones up to 7kg and with further flight time and assessment up to 25kg.

Students also had the opportunity to work on a commercial drone designed for high-temperature monitoring operations on oil rigs — just one of the many applications for drone technology.

The course has also provided valuable experience through work placements in electronics and drone-related industries such as electronic equipment manufacturing for military and aerospace applications, and aerial photography for new and existing real estate developments.