It all started with “a courageously resourceful fellow.” The man was William “Billy” Blue, sentenced to five years for stealing 20 pounds of sugar, a key ingredient in his chocolate side business. Sent to Sydney in 1801, Blue forged a life from the humblest of origins to become one of the most audacious and entrepreneurial harbour watchmen in Australia, armed with only a quick wit, fast thinking and a determined spirit.
Over 170 years later, two cool guys Ross Renwick and Aaron Kaplan launched a magazine in the spirit of this fiery figure. The Billy Blue magazine became Sydney’s answer to The New Yorker, bending rules, injecting opinions, ideas and friction into the city’s design scene. With corporations and bohemians enamoured, it grew into a design agency, Billy Blue Creative, winning hundreds of national and international design awards.
The talent to fill its North Sydney headquarters, however, was lacking. Struggling to find designers with the grit and drive to match their unconventional, innovative spirit, they advertised for students to come to learn alongside them — and so the Billy Blue College of Design was created.
Today, the college — now part of Torrens University Australia — continues to give talent a footing in the workplace in a variety of design disciplines, including branded fashion, communication design, digital media design, interior design, software engineering and creative technologies.
The university is accredited, the programmes commercially-focused and linked to industry. What this means is a third-party accrediting agency has recognised Torrens University’s level of education standards. Courses are developed by some of the industry’s best creators, designers and lecturers who work in leading agencies. Students know what they know and know who they know. In internships and work integrated learning programmes, they also work on real briefs and for real clients for up to 120 hours.
The Bachelor of Digital Media (Film and Video Design) helped student Jamil Chami from Lebanon “really understand the film industry with the latest on-campus technology and most up-to-date equipment.” “Throughout my degree, I was very encouraged to seek assistance from lecturers and teachers and to get answers from and to assist me with my degree,” he shares.
Every year, since 2012, over 300,000 students graduate from Australian universities. Torrens University design graduates are formidable against this competition for a number of reasons. First, the data favours them. So far, it has conducted industry placements with over 3,600 partners including VOGUE, Saatchi & Saatchi, Marque, DDB and Blowfish. This, in turn, has helped graduates to reach their career goals faster. Billy Blue College of Design was also ranked one of the top 10 animation schools in Australasia in the Animation Career Review 2020 and named the “International school of the year” in The Rookies 2017 ranking.
Then, there are the reviews from alumni. Moussa Debbas from Jordan describes his Bachelor of Software Engineering (Artificial Intelligence) as “great” and with “up-to-date material and curriculum.” “Torrens University is one of the best when it comes to customer service and definitely on top of their game in this information age,” he shares.
Emma Newnes, Bachelor of Communication Design graduate, has until recently worked at award-winning studio The Creative Method as a designer. “They came to the portfolio review at Billy Blue and I started freelancing with them, which turned into a full-time position soon after. I have now jumped the pond and work in London!”
Flexible, real-world design programmes
As universities reopen post-pandemic, many students are returning with fresh outlooks on online education. They’ve sampled it through lockdowns — a lifeline that opened their eyes to how online classes, when well-designed, can provide a rich, varied and interactive student experience. It provides access to a bigger group of students, expanding intake to more diverse populations, which, in turn, enriches classroom discussions. Online courses also make personalising curriculum easier, offer more clarity, encourage independence and replace rigidly scheduled weekly lectures with group project work or intensive tutorials tailored according to size and attendance requirements.
Torrens University recognises the value and applicability of online education. Students do too — the university boasts an online student retention rate of 90%. The Billy Blue College of Design offers the following programmes full-time or part-time on campus, online or blended:
- Diploma of Design
- Diploma of Graphic Design
- Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration
- Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging
- Bachelor of 3D Design and Animation
- Bachelor of Communication Design
- Bachelor of Film and Video
- Bachelor of Game Design and Development
- Bachelor of Interior Design (Commercial)
- Bachelor of Interior Design (Residential)
- Bachelor of Software Engineering (Artificial Intelligence)
- Bachelor of Software Engineering (Game Programming)
- Bachelor of UX and Web Design
- Graduate Certificate in UX and Web Design
- Master of Design
- Master of Software Engineering (Artificial Intelligence, Advanced)
- Master of Software Engineering (Cloud Computing, Advanced)
The Torrens University approach produces outstanding outcomes — allowing students to reach their career goals faster. Learn more here to find out how you can begin a fulfilling journey that will help you secure a career you love.