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Having always planned on being a lawyer, Ryley Dalton focused his high school studies on gaining entrance to university to study law.

However, six months into his legal studies he realised that being a lawyer wasn’t the right career path. So he left the course to work in customer service while deciding his next career move.

“I mulled over what to do for six years before finally deciding I wanted to become an engineer. However, I couldn’t enrol in university as I hadn’t focused enough on maths and physics in high school,” explained Ryley.

To enrol in a Bachelor of Engineering, Ryley needed an overall position (OP) (now an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank or ATAR) for maths and physics, something he didn’t have as his career goals were vastly different during school.

Undeterred he sought an alternative pathway that brought him to a TAFE Queensland information night, where he learnt about a Certificate IV in Adult Tertiary Preparation (10765NAT)(ATP).

ATP was the ideal alternative to high school for Ryley as it gave him the essential study and technical skills he needed to get his OP and prepare for university study.

“Despite being a little apprehensive in the beginning, the ATP course was an absolute blessing. It connected me with an engaging teacher who taught me the math and physics skills I needed, so much so that I’m now passionate about the topics – which surprised me,” he said.

The more he studied, the more passionate he became about the topics, studying and engineering, making him more determined to become an engineer.

“ATP was awesome, and thanks to the structure of the course, it took just six months to learn the skills I needed to gain entrance to the qualification I wanted to study to start my career.”

As well as the course structure, Ryley credits his teacher and classmates for helping him get the credentials needed to enter university.

“It’s a lot of work condensed into a tight timeline, but my teacher was amazing at getting everyone engaged, passionate and motivated about maths and physics.”

“Everyone grew more confident with each class, and we all helped one another to help each other pass. My whole ATP experience set me up perfectly for studying at university,” he said.

After finishing his ATP course, Ryley went on to study and graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours.

“The transition from ATP to university was so smooth. I had confidence in my skills, and I adapted to studying and learning in a tertiary environment.”

“It also gave me insights into tertiary training, as we visited universities to get a feel of what to expect at university – I felt that I had an advantage for the first semester,” he continued.

After graduating, Ryley joined the Department of Transport and Main Roads as part of their graduate program and helping design and build road infrastructure around Queensland.

“My job is giving me insights into all aspects of infrastructure projects, from turning the soil at the start to cars driving on the new road at the finish of projects.”

Now he has kicked off a career he’s passionate about and is working where he wants to be, Ryley has advice for anyone who finds themselves in a similar position.

“I’d recommend ATP to anyone wanting to bridge the gap between school and university. The course is packed with relevant material and the structure to help you master the topics you need while getting you back into the study mindset- I wouldn’t be working in a career I love without it,” concluded Ryley.


Learn more about ATP

More about school alternatives for adult learners

More about university pathways

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