A group of 33 Sydney Catholic Schools’ students are poised for early entry into engineering and information technology (IT) degrees through The University of Technology Sydney’s Wanago Program. 

Year 11 and 12 students who complete a NESA-accredited HSC Engineering or Information Technology elective through the program are offered direct entry into undergraduate courses including civil and mechanical engineering and software design.


According to a September 2021 report by the Ai Group, nationwide skills shortages are currently highest in STEM-related fields.

These include in Engineering, and in ICT where security specialist and program manager roles are projected to grow by 26.6% in the next three years.*

Sydney Catholic Schools’ Director of Education and Research, Dr Kate O’Brien, said the Wanango opportunity was just one example of university-level partnerships at Sydney Catholic Schools that broaden students’ learning and give them clear pathways to further study.

The problem-solving, collaboration and critical thinking skills emphasised in Wanago electives are also in keeping with the ethos that underpins all learning at Sydney Catholic Schools.

“We want to empower our students to make a difference and to be adaptable to the needs of their communities and future workplaces,” Dr O’Brien said.

“Students in the Wanago Program will be well placed to fill critical skills shortages while pursuing disciplines they love” – Dr Kate O’Brien

“We’re very excited to see the innovative projects they imagine and develop as part of their learning at UTS.”

Wanago program manager Emaly Black said the curriculum was filled with project-based enrichment activities that expose students to industry and to UTS student societies where they can see innovation in action.

This is perfect for students who enjoy learning by doing,” and they can see for themselves how theory is applied in real world examples,” Ms Black said.

“Rockets, 3D data visualisation, cyber-security, renewable energy, game design, quantum science – it’s pretty exciting stuff” – Emalay Black


Holy Cross College Ryde student Rory Palmer and De La Salle College Ashfield student Alexander Manganas, both in Year 12, are among the Sydney Catholic schools students enrolled in the Wanago Program this year. 

Rory said that studying at the university’s Broadway campus makes him feel a step ahead.

His Information Technology major project is a mental health-based app that allows the user to record their thoughts and feelings daily.

The app, which he has tested with his school’s counsellor, has a self-destruct mode that erases past negative thoughts within a month. It also features positive affirmations and emergency contact information.

“I’ve been interested in coding since Year 4,” Rory said.

“It is a field I am passionate about that I would not have had the opportunity to study [at HSC level] if it wasn’t for the Wanago program.”

When Alexander’s Information and Software Technology teacher resigned at the end of Year 10 and further electives in the field were unconfirmed, his school suggested the Wanago program.

Alexander, a chess tutor, is designing an app to teach the basic rules of chess.

“It’s exciting, it’s fun, but it’s not a class you can cruise in,” he said.

“We are all like-minded students.”

Alexander is now considering a career in cyber security, while Rory plans to study game design.

*Ai Group Centre for Education and Training, ‘The quest for skills: tackling shortages in a disrupted world’, September 2021, p.8.