Led by an experienced staff of dedicated artists and designers, NCAT Folio Preparation is widely respected across the creative industries as a quality contributor to art and design education
You are able to choose either a Design stream or a Visual Arts stream offering these formal qualifications; • CUA40715 Certificate IV in Design • CUA41315 Certificate IV in Visual Arts


Folio Preparation provides you with portfolio enhancement and a proven pathway for entry into tertiary courses within the visual arts or design areas or direct employment in the creative industries. It offers you creative skills, confidence and the opportunity to develop a professional and effective folio.


You are able to choose between:
• CUA40715 Certificate IV in Design
• CUA41315 Certificate IV in Visual Arts

When these certificates are undertaken as part of the Folio preparation program your eligibility for further government funded VET studies will not be affected.

Northern College of the Arts and Technology is a Registered Training Organisation. RTO No 6736.


The NCAT Folio Preparation course offers an alternative to ATAR-Score based University entry.

Strong links have been forged between the course and a number of Tertiary pathways. These links include direct entry arrangements, scholarships, second year entry and alternatives to ATAR prerequisites for students who receive a distinction grade average in our course.

Direct entry to Swinburne University of Technology


• Provide you with a tailor-made program that suits your individual needs & requirements.
• Build your confidence and creative maturity
• Improve your practical and conceptual skills, and provide you with a substantial body of practical work for Tertiary interview and entrance.
• Provide detailed careers research and counselling to enable you to make informed choices regarding the multitude of art & design courses and careers on offer.
• Introduce you to the Adobe suite of computer programs including Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Indesign, building your creative computer skills to a proficient level
• Introduce you to new media
• Cater for a range of skills and interests, from beginners to advanced students
• Enable mature-aged students seeking a career change, to build practical and conceptual skills and to create a comprehensive portfolio
• Enable you to trial a wide range of skills and techniques in either art or design discipline


Folio Preparation is a unique government funded portfolio preparation course, which provides both an opportunity to build art or design skills and a pathway for students seeking entry into university courses in design and visual arts areas.
From its inception in 1989, Folio Preparation has assisted in the launch of hundreds of art and design related careers.
NCAT Folio Preparation tailors learning to your individual pathway needs with elective and extension subject offerings.


Widely respected in the creative industries and in art & design education, the Staff at NCAT Folio Preparation is an experienced & dedicated team of practicing artists and designers.


Folio Preparation at work
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GALLERIESGraduation artworks: Download PDF


"Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life" Picasso

Express and expand your creative skills in a studio environment. Explore visual art processes through hands-on workshops with professionals who seek to inspire.
Whether you are planning a career in the visual arts, considering further study or exploring options for a more creative life, we bring your ideas and practical skills together to help you realise your creative vision.


  • Art Studio
  • Art Workshop
  • Illustration
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Culture and Context
  • Contemporary Art Practice
  • Life Drawing


"Design creates culture, culture shapes values, values determine the future" RL Peters

We bring ideas and practical skills together to help you plan your career in the design industry. If you are considering further study, we will work with you to realise your creative direction.

Explore the broad design field or choose to focus on a speciality such as graphic design, spatial design, games design, or illustration.

Express and expand your creative skills through hands-on workshops, industry exposure and innovative design practice with professionals who seek to inspire.


• Design Studio
• Design Workshop
• Photo Imaging
• Drawing for Design
• Culture and Context
• Life Drawing
• Industry Practice

• Spatial Design
• Illustration
• Concept Art
• Art for Design


Facilities include two labs with 20 Apple iMacs in each, a full class set of Apple iPads, a purpose built life drawing studio, fully equipped visual art studios, photographic lighting studio, DSLR cameras, Wacom tablets, 3-D printer, design studios, student lounge, exhibition spaces, access to state of the art technology workshops (laser cutters, vinyl cutters etc) and an onsite cafe.


Every year we accept into our courses mature age students of all ages, who dream of fulfilling their creative urges but just don't know where to start. For them it is all about putting a toe in the water... building skills and confidence, getting exposed to the rich world of art and or design and avoiding the preclusive costs of higher education. Are you looking for a career change and are you seeking to build a comprehensive portfolio for further study or employment? Dip your toe into the water.


NCAT Folio Preparation is fully government funded and does not charge tuition fees for students entering direct from year 12. There is a materials charge of $800 payable on enrolment that covers the art/design materials used whilst in class. You need to supply your own materials for home use. Mature age students may be eligible for a Skills First Government subsidised position or may be required to pay tuition fees. 
This training is delivered with Victorian and Commonwealth government funding.


You will need to apply directly to NCAT Folio Preparation, not through VTAC. Please note that we are listed in the VTAC Guide though.

We accept applications from mid-year onwards. On receiving your application we will contact you to arrange an interview time. We interview students from July - November.  Applications after December will be accepted but early applications offer the best opportunity to secure a place in the course.

You will be required to bring some creative work to your interview to give us an idea of your existing skills and interests. This could include evidence of drawing/design/art work or any other supplementary information you regard as creative.

Applicants to this course MUST have satisfactorily completed the VCE/VCAL Senior or, if over 21, be able to display equivalency to VCE/VCAL Senior through experience. We understand that you may not have received final VCE/VCAL results on application but be aware that NCAT Folio Preparation course offers are provisionally based on you successfully gaining your VCE or VCAL Senior qualification.

Application forms are available online at or by contacting NCAT Folio Preparation directly for an information pack.
For further information about the course or to submit an application, please contact:
NCAT Folio Preparation
Telephone: (03) 9478 1333
Email: NCAT Folio Preparation
[email protected]


Industry Testimonials:

"Monash has a long and successful relationship with NCAT, based on a mutual regard for creative enquiry, conceptual strength and the value of good design. They produce adventurous creative thinkers whose abilities we gratefully inherit. The union of NCAT and Monash has resulted in a group of industry-ready professionals, working in studios across Melbourne and internationally. A number have also gone on to postgraduate study, completing Honours and Masters degrees, and some have established their own studios.
Monash has established an Art Design & Architecture scholarship program with NCAT; only one of two in existence for this type of program in the faculty. Our decision to establish this award speaks volumes of our regard for NCAT; its exceedingly talented staff; and its creative, independent and enquiring body of students"
Dr Gene Bawden, Deputy Head, Design (Communication Design)
Monash University, Faculty of Art Design & Architecture


We know the best people to ask about Folio Preparation are our ex-students. They are now artists, curators, graphic designers, visual merchandisers, interiors designers, animators, visual effects artists, photographers, fashion designers, illustrators, games designers, architects, advertisers, industrial designers, art directors, dreamers and visionaries.
Read about what they thought of their time with us, and the impact that time has had on their pathway into the creative industries.

“I came to NCAT after returning from a year in Japan. I was a qualified teacher who was sick of teaching. I'd always wanted a creative career, but growing up I had been discouraged from pursuing it at every turn. I couldn't afford to go back to uni to re-skill, & the NCAT Folio Preparation course was perfect - it fit my budget, I would come out with a qualification at the end & best of all, I would learn how to use the Adobe Creative Suite! (I had NO IDEA then). It was a fantastic year. I was really driven to succeed, & I definitely found my "voice" as an illustrator, as well as learning how to be a better designer. I would never have had the confidence or skill to go on to produce work for clients such as a Triple J unearthed winner, Made In The Now T-shirts, or ABC2 if I hadn't done the course! Knowing that those opportunities came about because I had acquired both the skills AND the confidence that I could pull it off is so priceless for me. I would definitely recommend this course to people & actually, I heard about it through a friend who highly recommended it to me!”
Caroline Meathrel
Freelance Graphic Designer | Illustrator | Copy Writer

“Having a year of amazing support & mentoring from a team of teachers that really love what they do made a huge difference in gaining work in the industry. I always recommend NCAT to people to do prior to Uni or a creative business venture because it's the kind of experience that you will rarely find as a student anywhere else!”
Jacquie Moon
Owner, Plump Design | Freelance Textile & Graphic Designer

“After finishing high school with a passion for design but not sure exactly what direction I wanted to take it, I found NCAT, which was an amazing course with great teachers that inspired me and encouraged me to create a folio of work that I was really proud of that, led me to be accepted into my first preference to continue my studies in a Diploma of Graphic Design.”
Alysha Parkinson 2015
Diploma of Graphic Design

"Basically [Folio Prep] got me into the University course that was my first preference. Before I went to NCAT I had no folio, by the end of the year I had so much work to show interviewers. Now I am getting a tertiary education doing something I love. (Games Design). Thanks NCAT!"
Aaron Hinds 2015
Games Designer

"It all started one evening when I googled the word 'folio' for no other reason than all the major art schools required one and I knew my dodgy sketchbooks which had travelled the past 20 years with me wouldn't cut it. This search led me to NCAT.
The next day I got on a tram with a couple of my sketches, arrived in Preston, explained my situation and ambition as best I could and was introduced to Tracy Paterson. Somehow Tracy made sense of my vagueness, something I'd been unable to do, and within an hour I’d signed on for the Folio Prep course, commencing the following week. I rang my wife on the way home in the tram, and her first response was it was the most excited and positive I'd sounded in years.
This momentum continued as I gained confidence and built on my learnings, which were many. Challenged and encouraged by talented, knowledgeable, and unbelievably patient people, prepared to call it as they see it, thereby establishing trusting relationships with their students, many of whom are in transition.
Twelve months later, I am preparing to go to the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) to study fine art. Clearly this would not have been possible without NCAT. I was able to present to the university with a body of work and confidence that I would not have thought possible just a few months earlier, and I have the NCAT team to thank.
If you like the idea of 'doing' art, and you don't know what to 'do', then 'do' this course. You will have no regrets. {I will be] forever grateful."
Cameron Schwab 2015
Studying Fine Art Drawing at (VCA) Melbourne University

“NCAT is a solid foundation which paves the way into various leading Art & Design tertiary education institutions in Melbourne. The staff and program were excellent and overall the year long program allowed me to enter the Bachelor of Visual Communication at Monash University already with a firm understanding of introductory Art & Design studies, a carefully crafted student folio and a hungry passion for developing myself as a creative person. As a lecturer now teaching at Monash University, I highly recommend NCAT as an outstanding beginning for anyone considering a career in art and design related professions.”
Giosuè Prochilo 1999
Communication Design Lecturer, Monash University

"After coming out of year 12 with an ATAR and folio that wouldn't get me very far, I managed to come across NCAT Folio Prep as a suggestion at an interview for my dream course. Folio Prep helped me develop my design skills and exposed me to so many different forms of image making. Now I'm in my 'dream course' doing Bachelor of Communication Design at Monash! It is amazing how much my skills improved in just one year."
Sam Whelan 2015
Studying Communication Design at Monash Uni

“NCAT has helped me shape my future. Not only did I gain such an incredible amount of practical knowledge, they also really cared and wanted to help as best they could. It was an unforgettable year: Great Results, Personable people, Creative.”
Reiko Ellis 2006
Freelance Illustrator

"An awesome course with so much to give. Learned so much in such a short amount of time thanks to the friendly staff. It will definitely you get a pathway to university as well as a short cut to a life filled with success. Thanks a bunch guys! Couldn't have done it without you."
Maryam Al-Abid-Ali 2011
Graphic Designer

“NCAT was the perfect stepping stone. The teachers were very approachable, extremely knowledgeable and super in-tune with what information anyone pursuing a creative career needed to set them on the path to their desired career. Great Results, High Integrity, Creative."
Laura Ferronato 2009
Graphic/Web Designer

"Folio Preparation was a brilliant course - good fun and I learned heaps. Very helpful when it came to applying to university! Don't think I would've gotten in without the staff help, or have even found the university course I ended up applying to. I would absolutely recommend it and would like to thank you all for all of your help and encouragement!"
Wendy Hughes 2015
Studying Industrial Design at Monash University

"NCAT Folio Preparation was the best move I ever made. The experience was invaluable. I went from applying straight out of year 12 to 8 design courses resulting in 1 interview & no acceptances, to 8 interviews, and 3 acceptances into various Uni & TAFE courses in my field. Cannot recommend NCAT enough! Couldn't have done it without the amazing teachers who are genuinely interested in your desired career path and goals."
Lizzie Rose Archer 2004

"One of the best years of my entire education!”
Leash Toki 2006
Graphic Designer Yamaha Music

“NCAT gave me the tools to create a folio of fine art, graphic design & photography based works. Not only did I have an extensive folio at the end of the year but I also felt confident & ready to pursue my Bachelor's degree in Communication Design at Monash University.
The teaching styles of all the teachers at NCAT suit each art direction. They help you to challenge yourself when you think you can't do something & help you to reach your full potential. You never feel like you're on your own, there is always someone to help. I can't speak highly enough of NCAT. It is a great way to transition into higher learning whether you are straight out of high school & unsure of your future or returning as a mature age student to gain technical skills or gain a pathway into uni. I have recommended NCAT to my friends & family, 3 of which are now working in their desired design field having gained the initial skills & experience that NCAT offers.
I will be teaching drawing at Monash University's free student program in second semester 2016. I have NCAT to thank for my new position, having gained so much confidence in my drawing skills there.”
Jess Tupper
Graphic Designer - Mimco

"I am a past student and recommend this course to anyone who is serious about developing their creative skills. I now head up a design studio in South Yarra!"
Joe Carbone 2000
Design Studio Manager Evoco Design

“Entering NCAT as a mature-aged student, my education had previously focused heavily on the sciences. However, my passions always included an equal interest in all things creative. As a result, I had a feeling of disenchantment. This was directly linked to an interest in the arts that was never allowed opportunity to flourish. NCAT and its incredible teaching staff, were instrumental in assisting to define and grow this creative side of my personality and career. Most notably (I believe), the program exposes students to a vast group of creative career paths. In doing so, it equips them with the varied tools required to enter higher education. Following NCAT, I gained successful entry into the Bachelor of Visual Communication, Monash University. This enabled many years of formal and non-formal experience in creative spheres. Currently, I balance and enjoy the challenge of working in a highly regulatory and almost legal role for half of my week. For the other half, I freelance on creative design and photographic work, which suits me perfectly. I am forever thankful for my decision to study at NCAT and to the invaluable staff in helping me find this happy medium. I cannot recommend the course highly enough. It was by far the most valuable year spent in my formal education”
Anna Antanopoulos
Creative Design Freelancer

"It was the best year I have had, and one of the best decisions I have made. I met the most amazing people, and it developed my skills and prepared me for the creative industries. I am forever grateful xx" 
Tarryn Eleese McGregor 2007
Exhibiting Fine Artist 

"NCAT is an awesome program to do before making any big decisions about committing to a long design course (and paying for it too!) If you're up for a year of working hard but making more pieces of art than you would have in your life, with help from the most genuinely caring staff, then that is what you will get! The difference in your work from February to the end of the year is just mind blowing, it is well worth it! There is no way I would be where I am at this point without NCAT: The most enjoyable year of my education yet. Thank-you to all the staff for guiding us this year, I hope when I leave I will be one of those ex students who keep coming back!"  
Sharni Brear 2011
Freelance Illustrator

"Fantastic creative atmosphere, fantastic helpful/supportive teachers and just a fantastic course. NCAT exposes you to all areas of design and art and lets you experiment in other areas that you may never have had a chance to otherwise. This played a huge role in my career, I went in thinking Graphics may be what I want to do and left KNOWING that animation/character design is where I want to be and I never would've known that without NCAT guiding me there. I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without NCAT and I would highly recommend to anyone"
Paul Tippett 2006
Freelance Animator/Illustrato

"For those who are interested in any art form, GO TO NCAT FOLIO PREPARATION before going to tafe or uni! It really helps you clarify and expand your knowledge in your strengths and love of art. I am honestly so grateful for doing this course. I now look forward to going to RMIT to study photography. I didn't have that opportunity before. THANK YEWWWWWW!!!"
Helen Tran 2011

"Truly an amazing experience. I learnt so much, in only one year. Thank you NCAT for giving me the stepping stone I needed"
Daniel Paulino 2009
Graphic Artist Now Design

“NCAT folio prep is a great way to get back into studying. After being out of school for so long I couldn't imagine applying for Uni, let alone getting in but my year at NCAT really pushed me to try new things with art, illustration and design. I learnt so many practical skills I never would have got my head around without the helpful staff and students and I created a portfolio I'm really proud of, which scored me a place at Monash. Thanks NCAT!”
Kalindy Williams 2015
Studying Fine Art at Monash University. Freelance stylist Kalindy Millions

"I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for NCAT Folio Preparation. It's a fantastic pathway and it goes to show an amazing ENTER/ATAR isn't everything"
Nina Read 2007
Graphic Designer / Founder of Fragmented Magazine

"I would just like to give a big shout out to all of the teachers who helped me out throughout this amazing course. Within a year of studying at NCAT I learnt so much and I was able to express myself in ways that I thought were not even possible. It helped me develop myself not only as an individual but as a young emerging artist & designer as well. All the skills that I learnt and gained from NCAT I still use until this day. If it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't be where I am now, so once again, thank you to the guys at NCAT Folio Preparation. I would do it all over again if I could!
Anybody thinking about doing it, I say go for it!!"
Robert Galdamez
Interior Designer

“A great course for someone interested in a career in art or design: Talented and supportive teaching staff. The course was very enjoyable.”
Ka-Yin Kwok 2001
Datacine Technician - Media Production

“Folio Prep was a design school where I got to explore and understand the different art styles and mediums through project practice. With no options after high school, it was very helpful to have a course that was designed to build a folio that led me down a path in finding a creative career. Not to mention with such a personable teachers.”
Alan Lam
Matt Painter | Environment Artist, Illoura

"By far the best option transitioning from year 12 to uni! I have met some of my best friends at NCAT! It has amazing mentors that have current industry knowledge, and a flexible teaching style with a focus on your skills as an individual. Highly recommend!"
Melike Yucel 2015
Studying Communication Design at Monash University

"Best thing I've ever done. Learnt so much in such a short amount of time. Supportive and lovely staff who keep challenging you! Definitely something I'd recommend"
Hannah Carney
Interior Architecture Monash University

"Loads of encouragement and support from a group of awesome teachers who bring you that one step closer to achieving your goals! Gotta love NCAT Folio Preparation! Thanks for everything guys :) A place you actually want to get up and go to in the morning!! Great environment, great teachers and great friends too :)"
Ange Chirico 2011

"Ten years ago, when I graduated from high school, it was near-impossible to enter straight into a design-related course. VCE barely allowed the level of specialisation necessary to undertake such tertiary education. NCAT are experts at filling that gap and helping students enter their dream course. Ten years on, I still consider NCAT to be the year where I grew the most as a creative. I look back at my time there with fond memories, am still in touch with the teachers and am always looking forward to the next time I can visit. I highly recommend studying with NCAT."
Stuart Ford 2001
Graphic Designer/Photographer - Stuart Ford Creative

"Great course with supportive teachers and lifelong friends made. One of the most creative and enjoyable years of my life!"
Naomi Braid (Wilson) 2000
Freelance Graphic Designer / Make up Artist

"I wish I had known about NCAT coming out of high school - it would have been a great bridge for getting me into a design course. As it is, I'm so glad I did finally find the course [as a mature aged student]. It's put me on the right career path thanks to friendly, supportive staff and a great hands-on curriculum. I learned so much in such a short time! NCAT is an excellent place to learn about the different aspects of design. The staff are passionate, and implement creative projects to help students learn basic design principles and new skills. I personally enjoyed the course and would recommend it to students looking to build up their folio before pursuing a freelance career or entering a University/TAFE course. It will help you find your creative "voice"; define your style and interests, and improve your illustration skills."
Caroline Meathrel 2010
Freelance Designer/Illustrator

"It was a great year for me, I learnt so much and discovered my true passion for graphic design. The teachers at NCAT really take the time to get to know you and what your career direction is to help you build up the right folio for that particular area of study. If you aren't ready for tertiary or didn't get the right VCE results and want to learn a lot in a supportive and nurturing environment apply for this course. When i finished year 12 I had received no offers for Uni then remembered my Vis Com teacher talking about NCAT and now a year later I've just been accepted into Monash Uni for Bachelor of Design and it wouldn't have been possible with out the NCAT Folio Preparation team. Thanks guys :)"
Luke Bongailas 2011
Studying Communication Design Monash University

"I went to NCAT Folio Preparation last year. It was the only real option for me and I decided to take the chance. I'm so glad I did because it turned out to be the best year. The teachers were amazing; so genuine, kind and helpful. I've also made such great friends. From NCAT I learned so much, they were extremely cooperative with my folio work and getting me into Uni. Now here I am doing graphic design at Uni, and I just want to go back to good old FOLIO PREP! Thank you so much to all my teachers Neil, Tracy, Bei, Amanda, Sue and Ian... I will never forget you!" 
Sabrina Qureshi 2010
Graphic Designer

“NCAT Folio Preparation: The place for art & design!"
Tegan Connelly 2005 
Graphic Designer

“NCAT helped me develop my art and design techniques and tastes and to deepen my appreciation and understanding of art, design, architecture and illustration. Not only that but they prepared me for the university application process - open days, prerequisites and of course the all-important folio. The folio they helped me develop got me into Monash's Bachelor of Design course. The teachers were lovely, treated us like peers and nurtured my confidence.
...If you're considering going to NCAT Folio Preparation, then stop considering and #!!*#* Listen to me! Go to NCAT. It's the bloody best year you'll ever have. You'll meet some of the best people in your life. You'll learn the most you have ever learnt within a single year. I don't know what or where I'd be without NCAT. It is unlike any other TAFE course available. Do yourself a favour and simply go!"
Harley Jackman 2010
Graphic Designe

“NCAT Folio Preparation is a great stepping stone for people wishing to pursue a career in design and preparing for a confident entry to a university degree.”
Sundos Solange Muna
Industrial Designer UK

"Hello from the Colour 'n trim department at GM Holden! Just a word or two (maybe more) from an exie... If you're unsure about NCAT, DONT BE! I owe my introduction into the textile design world to Folio Preparation! The course laid the foundations to what I hope will be a long and successful career in this wonderful industry. The staff at NCAT Folio Preparation make the place a pleasure to come to everyday of the week!!!"
Tanya Dsouza 2006
Textile Designer / GM Holden

“I studied at NCAT in 2009 and I would not be as successful at uni as I am today without the help of all of the staff. The course is structured so that you aren't 'babied' like high school but you're not left alone in the cold like uni.
The staff are amazing, so willing to help, so knowledgeable, so respectful of you as a student, a person and a designer. I would do this course over and over again if I could - Absolutely fantastic!”
Tiffany Hallett
Graphic Designer | Digital Marketer

"I loved NCAT Folio Preparation: great experience and great friends!"
Kim Elliott 2005