14 November 2023

The HSC courses flying below the radar that are helping Illawarra students pursue their passions

| Keeli Royle
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Tavian Matic with drones.

Tavian Matic embarked on a UAV/drone course as part of his HSC. Photos: Keeli Royle.

The subjects students choose to study for their HSC can shape the experience of their final years of schooling and influence the paths they choose to take after graduation, but with more flexibility and options for unique and creative courses, young people are getting the opportunity to pursue their passions and even start their careers early, all within the public education system.

Dapto High’s Tavian Matic may have only just finished his exams, but the 18-year-old is already equipped with a certification that has allowed him to turn a lifelong hobby into a business.

“I started to be interested in drones from a very early age, flying little micro quad copters just around the house and toy ones,” Tavian said.

“In Year 10 UAVAIR came to the school and said for your HSC you can do this course which gets you Cert III, a remote licence to fly and also an AROC [Aeronautical Radio Operator Certificate] which is to use the radio and the air bands, so that was just a great opportunity and I took that up pretty much straight away.

“For me I think it just kind of made sense, I’m already flying drones I may as well make it part of the HSC.”

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Tavian was one of two students at the school to embark on the unique course, with classes run through distance education consisting of both theoretical and practical components.

“It was great; through the HSC it was a three-hour class a week and plenty of support through UAVAIR. You just submit assessments weekly, usually a test or something and a couple of practical lessons.

“Every couple of weeks the instructor would come down to the school for flying and they’d show us one demonstration and we’d do that as well.

“And the theory ones were weekly; we’d do a lesson on a specific subject like batteries for instance, and then there would be an assessment that we’d fill out, usually 20 or 30 questions.”

Tavian flying a drone.

The 18-year-old runs his own business.

And Dapto High helped accommodate the students to explore this avenue by ensuring they had the time to meet the requirements.

“The careers advisor arranged most of it for us,” Tavian said. “It was initially Monday afternoons and then it went to Wednesday afternoons and I’d get that time in the library to join the classes, so there was a lot of support from the school as well.”

At the end of last year, Tavian used the skills and qualifications he had gained throughout the course to launch his own business called SkyMatic Drone Photography, which has also been used by the school for assisting with different projects that require a bird’s-eye view.

“You’d do what you love for free,” Tavian said. “It’s not a job but if you can turn it into one, it’s good.

“And it’s good to get in the industry early.”

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SkyMatic has been slowly growing while Tavian has continued the rest of his HSC, with other subjects such as business studies also helping to support his endeavours.

As he heads towards university to study computers, he hopes that his business will allow him to continue developing this other passion.

“I hopefully want to get more into real estate photography because that’s just really fun to do and also maybe cinematic advertisements,” he said.

Tavian can’t speak highly enough of the course that started it all for him and encourages any students looking to explore their options to give it a shot or have a look at similar pathways that cater to their interests.

“It’s one of those courses that you wouldn’t expect to pop up, but it was a great opportunity,” he said.

“It’s great that students are able to take these avenues that are really fun and recreational as part of the HSC but also get the qualifications out of it all through their school.”

To find out more about Tavian’s work or business visit the SkyMatic website.

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