While the vast majority of HSC students across NSW were sweating on their results, a group of Kempsey High School graduates are aiming to game their way into a career.
Highlighting the diversity of pathways for HSC graduates on offer in NSW public schools, four Kempsey High students have their sights set on attending the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE), an Australian 3D animation, game design and visual FX educator.
Kempsey High principal Mick Eller said a partnership between the school and AIE had opened up job opportunities to students in new industries such as virtual and augmented realities, video game design, 3D animation and programming.
Mr Eller said 12 HSC students had completed a Certificate II in Creative Industries (3D Animation) and Certificate III in Screen and Media (Video Game Design) over two years.
"Four of those students are now working to extend their experience to pursue careers in one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand employment fields," he said.
"The applications of the new technologies – and those that will spring from them in future – are almost limitless, and we're delighted to give our students a taste of those career options."
Head Teacher, Technology and Applied Studies (TAS), Aaron Hinchcliffe, has overseen the delivery of the course to Years 11 and 12, and the preparatory courses for Years 9 and 10.
Mr Hinchcliffe said while the four students aiming to pursue a career in interactive entertainment wanted to do well, they were not worried about their HSC scores.
"The AIE doesn't worry about your ATAR, they want to see a body of work, a portfolio of what you can do," he said.
Mr Hinchcliffe said interest in the course was growing with 20 Year 9 students enrolled in the Industrial Technology Multi-Media course.
"This course allows students interested in this area of study to achieve the prerequisite skills and knowledge needed to succeed (in Years 10, 11 and 12) when working with the AIE curriculum."
A recent change to the Australian Qualifications Framework training package now allowed students in Year 10 to be enrolled in the Certificate II in Creative Industries to complete AIE's 12-month-long 3D Animation course.
The current Year 10 cohort (12 students) had just completed this and most of this class had enrolled into the Certificate III course for Years 11 and 12, Mr Hinchcliffe said.
"The Certificate III has a very deliberate foundation bias, ensuring the students have a strong grounding in how the software works, putting edges, faces and shapes into 3D and how those shapes are put into 3D motion.
"It gives the students a knowledge base which is highly adaptable for any number of specialisations, many of which are still to be identified as the technology develops."