It’s never too late to educate


Brett Smith (DipDigTech ’21) never considered university as a pathway to further his career. He had assumed university was for a corporate education, and TAFE was for people who wanted to pursue a trade.

When the Diploma of Digital Technologies was developed in collaboration between Flinders University, BAE Systems Maritime Australia and TAFE SA to bring Industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing to the shipbuilding industry, Brett jumped at the opportunity and has never looked back.

Beyond expanding his skillset and expertise, Brett was also awarded the prestigious ‘Graduate of the Year’ at the 2021 Australian Defence Industry Awards held by Defence Connect, an award he believes is his greatest accomplishment to date. He describes the Awards as an incredible opportunity and urges anyone in defence or related industries to nominate. “You may be pleasantly surprised with how well you perform,” he says.

Now with more than 10 years’ experience in the Australian Shipbuilding Industry, Brett combines his university studies in Digital Technologies with his role as a Digital Detail Designer at BAE Systems at the Osborne Shipyard.

Brett examines designs for the Hunter Class Frigates [a type of warship] before future ships go into full production, to make sure the right modelling changes are best suited for Australia’s needs, and that the manufacturing process is as efficient as it can be.

Brett recognises the valuable mentorship in the program provided by Andrew Marshall in Digital Technologies, who brought his real world experience with the practical application of industry 4.0.

“Andrew’s ability to share insights from his 25 years of industry experience made the Diploma more dynamic and relevant,” says Brett. “It helped students place a greater understanding of real-world applications of advanced technologies, plus Andrew has such a great rapport with students.”

With an impressive academic record, including a Chancellor’s Commendation, Brett has not ruled out further study in the future. ‘My studies have really reignited my passion for continuous learning, and I am looking forward to my next challenge’ he says.

Learn more about studying the Diploma of Digital Technologies at Flinders University

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