FAQs and our Answers

December 16, 2017

It's the time of year when you may be thinking ahead to 2018 and considering enrolling in a Pumphouse course. You've probably got some questions, so here are our answers to the most frequently asked ones:

How are you different to university and TAFE?
Depending on the course, we try to make Pumphouse like a hybrid classroom and design studio, where we set real-world design briefs with real deadlines. Also, we focus squarely on day-to-day practicalities, like software skills, time management, creative presentation and client interaction. We set projects but we don't 'mark' them, we give feedback and ask students to make revisions to improve their projects and learn from their mistakes. Getting 8/10 is no where near as useful as having the opportunity to learn from your mistakes, just like in the workplace.

How do you ensure you are teaching skills that are industry relevant?
Credibility is everything to us. Pumphouse is not just a training room, or a business we opened opportunistically.  We’re all born and bred locals, we all own businesses and enjoy long-standing respect in the Newcastle creative community. We know the local studios and agencies and we ask them for feedback. We participate in industry events and work hard on our contacts and business relationships which we draw upon to give our students a doorway into the industry. We are industry professionals who teach, as well as design teachers, if you know what we mean.

Why is Pumphouse not an accredited training organisation?
We are proudly non-accredited because, in our experience, employers value skills over qualifications. Our focus is on industry standards, not government checklists. Being non-accredited allows us to be quite flexible and responsive to demand, for example we offer custom one-on-one and small group training, and are always looking for new courses and workshops, like the new UX & UI Design course.

Do you have computers?
Our policy is Bring Your Own Device. This means you need to have your own laptop (either Mac or PC) and relevant software. There’s no clumsy file transfers, log-in issues and incompatible software. Not having a dedicated computer lab helps us to keep costs down, which ultimately benefits the students.

How do I enroll?
There is no selection criteria for workshops and short courses but we do have a small class size policy, so it's a matter of first in. If any prior knowledge or special software is required that will be clearly stated in the course/workshop information. For our long courses, we prefer to have a chat with you first and we may ask to see a portfolio so we can place you at the appropriate training level for your skills. Many of our workshops are suitable for beginners, as is the Design Foundation course. Make contact with us to get the ball rolling.

How much does it cost?
It depends on what course or workshop you select – all prices are on the website within the course information pdfs. Our longer courses, eg Design Foundation and Advanced Design Skills are priced comparatively to similar duration tertiary subjects. For these courses we offer an attractive discount to students who pay in full upfront, but we also offer an accessible split payment plan.

Why are you called Pumphouse?
Our premises is industrial with workshed walls and a roller door (and the best coffee in Newcastle, Dark Horse Espresso, right next door — very important!). It feels like a studio and the warehouse setting is a reflection of our 'get on with it' philosophy. The name Pumphouse (which came to us when sitting at Merewether Beach talking over the idea of a design school, looking at the Merewether Baths pumphouse) is a nod to that industrious approach to learning, as well as to the traditionally industrial nature of our Wickham surrounds.

How do I get there?
We are located in Wickham, an inner suburb of Newcastle close to the harbour. It's a short, easy walk from the new Wickham interchange. If you're planning to drive there is free street parking all around us, you just may have to be prepared to walk a couple of blocks depending on the time of day you arrive.




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