Ke Wu, 29, TAFE Queensland, Gold Coast Campus

Chinese civil engineer Ke Wu decided to spend a gap year in Australia on a working holiday in 2017. But he didn’t get too far. Ke ended up falling in love with the first city he visited – the Gold Coast – and after a year there, enjoying the beaches and the weather, he decided to stay and study. Graduating from TAFE Queensland with a Certificate III in Marine Craft Construction in 2020, he now works in the local boat-building industry.

Q. Congratulations on a new career and a new home. With a bachelor’s degree in engineering, why did you choose boat building to study next?

I already had an interest in boat building. After a year on my working holiday, I fell in love with this city. At this time, a friend of mine told me that you could choose to stay here and study. Because I like the sea, and the Gold Coast is a coastal city, I chose TAFE’s marine craft construction course.

Q. Tell us a little about what you studied

Our course focused on wood and fibreglass marine craft manufacturing. You not only learn theoretical knowledge, but also you pay more attention to practice. We had classrooms for learning theories and workshops for practice, as well as computer classrooms. Our course also provided internships in the industry. After I finished, I stayed in the boat-building company where I had worked as an intern. I like my job very much, because it allows me to feel the detailing and patience of shipbuilding technology. And the most exciting thing is to see the brand new yacht I personally helped build in the factory.

Q. What did you enjoy most at TAFE?

My favourite study time was at TAFE’s workshop, where our teacher taught us to use and maintain various mechanical equipment and tools. My favourite teacher was Dennis, a teacher with many years of rich knowledge and experience in shipbuilding. He was amiable and, at the same time, he was meticulous. He often reminded us of the importance of operating machinery safely.

Q. How did studying there shape your life in a personal way?

During the time I studied on the Gold Coast, I became good friends with my classmates. We have always been in touch and care about each other's recent situations. Some of them returned to their country, and some of them continued to work in Australia, like me.

Q. What is your favourite part about living on the Gold Coast?

Looking back on my student days, my favourite thing was going to the beach to surf. The Gold Coast is a veritable resort and a surfing paradise. I think everyone who comes to the Gold Coast enjoys surfing.

Q. And finally, what would you tell someone who is thinking about studying on the Gold Coast?

I want to say that you deserve to come here. There are beautiful beaches, a warm climate and enthusiastic people.