17 August 2016


We know the best people to ask about NCAT Folio Preparation are our ex students. Here is what some of them thought about their time with us and the impact it had on their pathway into the creative industries

Imogen Hopper 2014
Melbourne University - VCA - Fine Art Sculpture and Spatial Practice
"So, um, life can take you off on a completely different path if you let it. This time last year I decided to take a complete break from acting, a career I’d been pursuing hard-out for 6 years. I’d just come back from Mexico and the depth of my creative dissatisfaction had become clear. So I enrolled in a one-year certificate IV course in Visual Arts called NCAT Folio Preparation, to see if there was another way I could be creatively satisfied or if I had any other creative abilities. It was an epic and challenging year that almost broke me a couple of times. Fast forward to December 2014. I applied to three major art schools to do a Bachelor of Fine Art, majoring in Sculpture and Spatial Practice. Of these, my first preference was the VCA, which is probably the most prestigious Fine Art school in the country. Two weeks ago they called and offered me a place. I was over the moon. And then MADA offered me a place… and then RMIT offered me a place. A trifecta! I am absolutely beaming. The lesson of the year for me is crystal clear: follow your intuition. Even if you have no idea where it’s taking you, just let it do its job. Incredibly grateful to those who have supported me tirelessly. Xx"

Giosuè Prochilo 1999

Communication Design Lecturer, Monash University
“NCAT is a solid foundation which paves the way into various leading Art & Design tertiary education institutions in Melbourne. The staff and program were excellent and overall the year-long program allowed me to enter the Bachelor of Visual Communication at Monash University already with a firm understanding of introductory Art & Design studies, a carefully crafted student folio and a hungry passion for developing myself as a creative person. As a lecturer, now teaching at Monash University, I can highly recommend NCAT as an outstanding beginning for anyone considering a career in art and design related professions.”

Reiko Ellis 2006

Freelance Illustrator
“NCAT has helped me shape my future. Not only did I gain such an incredible amount of practical knowledge, but they also really cared and wanted to help as best they could. It was an unforgettable year: Great Results, Personable people, Creative.”

Cameron Schwab 2015

Melbourne University - VCA - Fine art Drawing
"It all started one evening when I googled the word 'folio' for no other reason than all the major art schools required one and I knew my dodgy sketchbooks which had travelled the past 20 years with me wouldn't cut it.This search led me to NCAT.The next day I got on a tram with a couple of my sketches, arrived in Preston, explained my situation and ambition as best I could and was introduced to Tracy Paterson. Somehow Tracy made sense of my vagueness, something I'd been unable to do, and within an hour I’d signed on for the Folio Prep course, commencing the following week. I rang my wife on the way home in the tram, and her first response was it was the most excited and positive I'd sounded in years.This momentum continued as I gained confidence and built on my learnings, which were many. Challenged and encouraged by talented, knowledgeable, and unbelievably patient staff, prepared to call it as they see it, thereby establishing trusting relationships with their students, many of whom are in transition.
Twelve months later, I am preparing to go to the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) to study fine art. Clearly this would not have been possible without NCAT. I was able to present to the university with a body of work and confidence that I would not have thought possible just a few months earlier, and I have the NCAT team to thank.If you like the idea of 'doing' art, and you don't know what to 'do', then 'do' this course. You will have no regrets.Forever grateful."

Alan Lam 2004
VFX/3D Matte Painter - Illoura
"NCAT was where I got to explore and understand different art styles and mediums through project practice. With no options after high school, it was very helpful to have a course that was designed to build a folio which led me down a path in finding a creative career in visual effects... Not to mention with such a personable teachers."

Tiffany Hallett 2009
Monash University Visual Communication
"I studied at NCAT in 2009 and I would not be as successful at uni as I am today without the help of all of the staff. The course is structured so that you aren't 'babied' like high school but you're not left alone in the cold like uni. The staff were amazing, so willing to help, so knowledgeable, so respectful of you as a student, a person and a designer. I would do this course over and over again if I could - Absolutely fantastic".

Sharni Brear 2011
Freelance Illustrator
"NCAT is an awesome program to do before making any big decisions about committing to a long design course (and paying for it too!) If you're up for a year of working hard but making more pieces of art than you would have in your life, with help from the most genuinely caring staff, then that is what you will get! The difference in your work from February to the end of the year is just mind blowing, it is well worth it! There is no way I would be where I am at this point without Folio Prep. The most enjoyable year of my education yet. Thank-you to all the staff for guiding us this year, I hope when I leave I will be one of those ex students who keep coming back!"

Paul Tippett 2006

Freelance Animator
"Fantastic creative atmosphere, fantastic helpful/supportive teachers and just a fantastic course. NCAT exposes you to all areas of design and art and lets you experiment in other areas that you may never have had a chance to otherwise. This played a huge role in my career, I went in thinking Graphics may be what I want to do and left KNOWING that animation/character design is where I want to be and I never would've known that without NCAT guiding me there. I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without NCAT and I would highly recommend to anyone".

Anna Antonopoulos 2000
Director - Northern Lens (Design and Photography)
"Entering NCAT as a mature-aged student, my education had previously focused heavily on the sciences. However, my passions always included an equal interest in all things creative. As a result, I had a feeling of disenchantment. This was directly linked to an interest in the arts that was never allowed opportunity to flourish. NCAT and its incredible teaching staff, were instrumental in assisting to define and grow this creative side of my personality and career. Most notably (I believe), the program exposes students to a vast group of creative career paths. In doing so, it equips them with the varied tools required to enter higher education. Following NCAT, I gained successful entry into the Bachelor of Visual Communication, Monash University. This enabled many years of formal and non-formal experience in creative spheres. Currently, I balance and enjoy the challenge of working in a highly regulatory and almost legal role for half of my week. For the other half, I freelance on creative design and photographic work, which suits me perfectly. I am forever thankful for my decision to study at NCAT and to the invaluable staff in helping me find this happy medium. I cannot recommend the course highly enough. It was by far the most valuable year spent in my formal education."

Maryam Al-Abid-Ali 2011
Graphic Designer

"An awesome course with so much to give. Learned so much in such a short amount of time thanks to the friendly staff. It will definitely you get a pathway to university as well as a short cut to a life filled with success. Thanks a bunch guys! Couldn't have done it without you".

Tarryn McGregor 2007
Fine Artist
"It was the best year I have had, and one of the best decisions I have made. I met the most amazing people, and it developed my skills and prepared me for the creative industries. I am forever grateful xx"

Laura Ferronato 2009

Graphic/Web Designer
“NCAT was the perfect stepping stone. The teachers were very approachable, extremely knowledgeable and super in-tune with what information anyone pursuing a creative career needed to set them on the path to their desired career. Great Results, High Integrity, Creative"

Tanya Dsouza 2006
Textile Designer GM Holden
"Hello from the Colour n trim department at GM Holden! Just a word or two (maybe more) from an exie :D If you're unsure about NCAT ... DONT BE :D I owe my introduction into the design world to Folio Preparation! The course laid the foundations to what I hope will be a a long and successful career in this wonderful industry. The staff at NCAT Folio Preparation make the place a pleasure to come to everyday of the week!!! "

Joe Carbone 2000
Design Studio Manager Evoco Design
"I am a past student and recommend this course to anyone who is serious about developing their creative skills. I now head up a design studio in South Yarra".

Aaron Hinds 2015

Studying Games Design RMIT
"Basically Folio Prep helped me get into the Uni and course that was my first preference. Before I went to NCAT I had no folio, by the end of the year I had so much work to show interviewers that it was hard to choose. Now I get to have a tertiary education doing something I love. Thanks NCAT!"

Stuart Ford 2001
Graphic Designer and Photographer - Stuart Ford Creative
"Ten years ago, when I graduated from high school, it was near-impossible to enter straight into a design-related course. VCE barely allowed the level of specialisation necessary to undertake such tertiary education. NCAT are experts at filling that gap and helping students enter their dream course. Ten years on, I still consider NCAT to be the year where I grew the most as a creative. I look back at my time there with fond memories, am still in touch with the teachers and am always looking forward to the next time I can visit. I highly recommend studying with NCAT."

Sundos Solange Muna 2000
Industrial Designer, UK
“NCAT is a great stepping stone for people wishing to pursue a career in design and preparing for a confident entry to a university degree.”

Sam Whelan 2015
Studying Communication Design at Monash University
"After coming out of year 12 with an ATAR and folio that wouldn't get me anywhere, I managed to come across NCAT Folio Prep at my interview for my dream Uni design course. Folio Prep helped me develop my skills and exposed me to so many different forms of image making. Now I'm in my 'dream course' doing Bachelor of Communication Design at Monash! Folio Prep improved my outlook and my skills so much in just one year!"

Ka-Yin Kwok 2001
Digital Operations Co-Ordinator at Blue Post
“A great course for someone interested in a career in art or design. Talented and supportive teaching staff. The course was very enjoyable.”

Catherine Harmsen 2006

Graphic Designer
"NCAT helped me develop my art and design techniques and tastes and to deepen my appreciation and understanding of art, design, architecture and illustration. Not only that but they prepared me for the university application process - open days, prerequisites and of course the all important folio. The folio they helped me develop got me into Monash's Bachelor of Design course. The teachers were lovely, treated us like peers and nurtured my confidence".

Caroline Meathrel 2010
Freelance Designer and Illustrator 
"I wish I had known about NCAT coming out of high school - it would have been a great bridge for getting me into a design course. As it is, I'm so glad i did finally find the course [as a mature age student]! It's put me on the right career path thanks to friendly, supportive staff and a great hands-on curriculum. I learned so much in such a short time! NCAT is an excellent place to learn about the different aspects of design. The staff are passionate, and implement creative projects to help students learn basic design principles and new skills. I personally enjoyed the course and would recommend it to students looking to build up their folio before pursuing a freelance career or entering a University/TAFE course. It will help you find your creative "voice"; define your style and interests, and improve your illustration skills."

Lizzie Rose Archer 2004
"NCAT was the best move I ever made. The experience was invaluable. I went from applying straight out of yr 12 to 8 design courses resulting in 1 interview & no acceptances, to 8 interviews, and 3 acceptances into various Uni & TAFE courses in my field. Cannot recommend NDS enough! Couldn't have done it without the amazing teachers who are genuinely interested in your desired career path and goals."

Wendy Hughes 2015

Studying Interior Architecture at Monash University
"It was a brilliant course, good fun and I learned heaps. Very helpful when it came to applying to university! Don't think I would've gotten in without the staff's help, or even found the university course I ended up applying to. I would absolutely recommend it and would like to thank you all for all of your help and encouragement!! "

Nina Read 2007
Graphic Designer - Fragmented magazine

"I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for NCAT. It's a fantastic pathway and it goes to show an amazing ENTER/ATAR isn't everything".

Helen Tran 2011
Studying Photography RMIT
"For those who are interested in any art form, GO TO NCAT before going to tafe or uni!!!! It really helps you clarify and expand your knowledge in your strengths and love of art. I am honestly so grateful for doing this course. I now look forward to going to RMIT to do photography (arts). I didn't have that opportunity before. THANK YEWWWWWW!!!"

Jess Tupper 2012
Studying Cummication Design at Monash University
"I'm about to start my second year of communication design at Monash uni Caulfield and it's all thanks to NCAT inspiring me the whole way through folio prep. The teachers helped me believe in myself and helped me find and further develop my own style through my artwork. I will be forever grateful for the skills I gained from the amazing team of teachers! Being treated as a peer by the teachers helped with the transition into uni life.
There are many aspects of folio development that I wish were implemented into my degree, life drawing and photography in particular! I learnt much more technical skills through the thorough teachings at NCAT. I'm missing some of the amazing briefs too!
Thanks again guys!"

Melike Yucel 2015
Studying Communication Design at Monash University
"Folio Prep is by far the best option transitioning from year 12 to uni! Met some of my best friends at NCAT! Amazing mentors that have current industry knowledge, and a flexible teaching style with a focus on your skills as an individual. Highly recommend!"

Daniel Paulino 2009
Graphic Designer - Now Design
"Truly an amazing experience, learnt so much, in only a year. Thank you NCAT for giving me the stepping stone i needed".

Hannah Carney 2015
Studying Industrial Design Monash University
"Best thing I've ever done!. I learnt so much in such a short amount of time. Supportive and lovely staff who keep challenging you! Definitely something I'd recommend."

Naomi Braid (Wilson) 2000

Freelance Graphic Designer
"Great course with supportive teachers and lifelong friends made. One of the most creative and enjoyable years of my life!"

Luke Bongailas 2011
Studying Communication Design
"It was a great year for me, I learnt so much and discovered my true passion for graphic design. The teachers at NCAT really take the time to get to know you and what your career direction is to help u build up the right folio for that particular area of study. If you aren't ready for tertiary or didn't get the right VCE results and want to learn a lot in a supportive and nurturing environment apply for this course. When i finished year 12 i had received no offers for uni then remembered my vis com teacher talking about NCAT and now a year later i've just been accepted into Monash Uni for Bachelor of Design and it wouldn't have been possible with out the NCAT Folio Preparation team. Thanks guys :)":)."

Ange Chirico 2011
"Loads of encouragement and support from a group of awesome teachers who bring you that one step closer to achieving your goals! Gotta love NCAT Folio Preparation! Thanks for everything guys :) A place you actually want to get up and go to in the morning!! Great environment, great teachers and great friends too :) Best. Year. Ever"

Kalindy Williams 2015
Studying Communication Design at Monash University
"NCAT folio prep is a great way to get back into studying. After being out of school for so long I couldn't imagine applying for uni, let alone getting in but my year at NCAT really pushed me to try new things with art, illustration and design. I learnt so many practical skills I never would have got my head around without the helpful staff and students and I created a portfolio I'm really proud of, which scored me a place at Monash. Thanks NCAT!"

Robert Galdamez 2012
Interior Design and Decoration RMIT
"I am about to start my 2nd year of Interior Design & Decoration at RMIT and I would just like to give a big shout out to all of the teachers at Folio Prep who have helped me out throughout this amazing course. Within a year of studying at NCAT I have learnt so much and I was able to express myself in ways that I thought were not even possible. It has helped me develop myself not only as an individual but as a young emerging artist & designer as well. All the skills that I have learnt and gained from NCAT I still use until this day. If it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't be where I am now, so once again, thank you to the guys at NCAT. I would do it all over again if I could. Anybody thinking about doing it, I say go for it!!

Sabrina Qureshi 2010
Graphic Designer, Artist
"I went to NCAT Folio Preparation last year. I decided to take the chance on it and I'm so glad I did because it turned out to be the best year. The teachers were amazing; so genuine, kind and helpful. I've also made such great friends. From NCAT I learned so much, they were extremely cooperative with my folio work and getting me into Uni. Now here I am doing graphic design at Uni,and I just want to go back to good old FOLIO PREP! Thank you so much to all my teachers Neil, Tracy, Bei, Amanda, Sue and Ian... I will never forget you! :D"

Kim Elliott 2005

"loved NCAT Folio Preparation: great experience and great friends!"

Tegan Connelly 2005
Graphic Designer
"NCAT Folio Preparation: THE place for art & design!"

Alysha Parkinson 2010
Graphic Artist
"After finishing high school with a passion for design but not sure exactly what direction I wanted to take it, I found NCAT Folio Preparation which was an amazing course with great teachers that inspired me and encouraged me to create a folio of work that I was really proud of and which led me to be accepted into my first preference to continue my studies in a Diploma of Graphic Design."

Leash Toki 2006
Designer Yamaha Music
"One of the best years of my education... Shhh... dont tell Eric!"

Harley Jackman 2010
Graphic Designer
"I remember hearing about [NCAT] NDS back in high school. But I never even bothered to find out what it was about… Skip forward a year or two, and I was about to attend my one and only interview at Victoria University. My one and only interview of anywhere. I wish I realised what an absolutely stupid move that was back then. I remember rocking up to the interview with what I thought was a pretty 'cool' folio, containing all my 'awesome' Photoshop work from Yr 11 & 12! Boy, was I wrong. I distinctly remember seeing the disappointment on the two Interviewer's faces when they were flicking through my 'awesome' folio. I was promptly recommended to check out NCAT Folio Preparation. Come two weeks later, I found out I wasn't accepted into the course at VU. My heart sank. I had no idea what I was going to do for the rest of that year. So I decided to look up NCAT Folio Preparation on Google and find out what it was.I was happy to learn that it offered exactly what I wanted and needed to get into a design course at VU, RMIT or Swinburne. So I arranged an interview time and was welcomed with open arms into the course. 2010 will be a year I will never forget. I learnt more than I could have ever thought possible. It's amazing the amount of skills I gained within that year. Everything ranging from drawing, photography, design principles and how to use the Adobe Creative Suite. I enjoyed 2010 more than any other school year previous to it. I actually enjoyed coming to school for the first time in my life!The teachers at Folio Prep are by far the greatest teachers I have ever had. I feel wrong even calling them teachers, they were more like a second family. Don't let me forget about my classmates. I met some of the friendliest, most talented people at NDS. People whom I believe will go a long way in the near future.After I completed NCAT, I had more than a great folio completed. It was a 'weapon'. This 'weapon' allowed me to get into pretty much any design course I applied for. It was so effective, Swinburne offered me a spot in their course on the same day as the interview! NCAT Folio Preparation has not only given me the opportunity to get into my desired design course - VU, but it has put me one giant leap ahead of my current classmates in terms of skill level and design understanding.If you're considering going to NCAT Folio Preparation, then stop considering and #!!*#* listen to me! Go to NCAT. It's the bloody best year you'll ever have. You'll meet some of the best people in your life. You'll learn the most you have ever learnt within a single year. I don't know what or where I'd be without NCAT. It is unlike any other TAFE course available. Do yourself a favour and simply go!"

* For simplicity, the title "NCAT Folio Preparation" and "NCAT" have been added where students have referred to us using our past names (NDS/Design Studies).

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