Melbourne’s NCAT is opening the door for the next generation of musos and artists

Melbourne’s NCAT is opening the door for the next generation of musos and artists

Words By Tammy Walters

The Northern College of the Arts & Technology offers specialised tertiary education across areas of performing arts, visual arts, design, media and more.

Melbourne’s Northern College of the Arts & Technology (NCAT) offers industry-standard learning and pathway provision in a state-of-the-art facility.

Their wide range of industry courses will be the focus of NCAT’s upcoming information evening happening on Tuesday May 18 from 6pm.

Though COVID-19 bowled many arts workers over last year, NCAT is supplying the bases for a home run on the education front.

Located on Murray Road in Preston, NCAT currently accommodates over 400 students from over 40 state, catholic and independent schools across Victoria, offering specialised Year 10, VCE, VCAL and tertiary education across areas of performing arts, visual arts, design, media, pre-apprenticeships, trades and technology.

“What is significant about the place and what distinguishes it from other schools, (other than the Victoria College of the Arts – VCA), is that we are a kind of contemporary popular medium,” explains Peter Myers, Head of Department – Performing Arts.

“It’s a really rad school to be involved in at the minute, partly to do with the model within the specialities we offer,” says Music Teacher, Matthew Rodd.

“We really get kids into industry-based courses from Year 10 and we’re a great school for students who are becoming very one-eyed about what they want to do and committed to their career path. The school offers Building and Construction all the way through to Sound Production and Dance with the same amount of industry and state-of-the-arts facilities and equipment across the board.”

Catch up on the latest music interviews, news and reviews here.

The information evening will also allow students to have a tour of the college facilities include NCAT’s Trade Training Centre, which is a unique, cutting-edge $17 million dollar facility with extensive sustainable and renewable energy areas for green-specific skills development, and their state-of-the-art performing arts department that is truly spectacular.

“A few years ago, we received funding from the government which meant we could press go on the redevelopment of a huge part of the school, from the admin buildings, through to general classrooms, through to the dance, drama and music departments. We have also got an auditorium which has absolutely transformed the place into a state-of-the-art teaching facility,” says Rodd.

With a 300-capacity retractable seating bank, sprung floor excellent for dance productions, a flexible design layout, a modern recording studio boasting a Yamaha CL1 setup, ten music practice rooms, and MIDI computer labs with the historical tones of a piano played by the greats of world jazz, NCAT prepares students for entry into real industry-standard environments.

“We have the equipment and the facility to cater for the students’ needs and to give them a first-class music education,” comments Myers.

Rodd adds, “We bring the industry right to the doorstep here and I think that’s one of the things we do very well, and we see the results every year when we see students leaving and entering the industry.”


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The first-class education filters through NCAT via not only their course and faculty offerings, but is instilled in the people within the organisation. Each member of staff in the teaching faculty are actively practicing their craft in the industry, and will be available at the information evening to discuss course details and the career prospects of undertaking study at NCAT.

“All of the staff are practicing artists or musicians or creators in some way. There is a real cohesion between the students and the staff because we share a common interest,” says Myers.

That mindset has become key to NCAT’s foundations. They ensure the quality of students entering the NCAT community are of a high calibre to promote successful transitions between study and industry employment, to maintain consistent skill levels within the classroom setting and to foster collaboration and relationship building between students.

“Students may be one of a handful of kids who are interested in the arts at traditional schools but once those students are at NCAT, they are amongst an entire cohort of like-minded individuals who all want to succeed in the arts,” Myers explains.

“We audition all of our students and I think we are unique in that way – I don’t think a lot of secondary schools would audition students to get into the music department – and the art students have to present portfolios, the dance students audition as well, so what that ensures is that the students are coming in with a certain level of skill, and we don’t accept everybody so we’re setting a standard.”

The arts has had a difficult time of late in light of COVID but NCAT is here to tell you that there’s no better time than the present to pursue your artistic passion.

“Careers in the arts do lead to jobs – training in the arts does lead to jobs because through the arts they acquire so many transferrable skills and, in the arts, we use technology all the time that’s integrated into our teaching and into the kids’ learning,” says Myers.

“We’ve taken some of the best practices that we developed in 2020 and are carrying them forward. In fact, COVID I would say put us a couple of years ahead in our use of online learning and digital integration.”

To find out more about NCAT’s courses and have a tour of the facility, head along to the NCAT Information Evening on Tuesday May 18 from 6pm. More info here.