Joshua Hinson’s love for the arts began at a young age, inspired by watching his mother perform. His early involvement in community theatre, particularly his role as ‘The Little Prince’ alongside his twin brother, set the stage for his future in the arts. ‘It planted a seed quite early on,’ Joshua recalls. However, it wasn’t until the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 that he decided to pursue drama seriously. Encouraged by his mother, Joshua applied to Excelsia College, attracted by its Christian-based education and supportive environment. At Excelsia, he found a renewed passion for acting, realising he could ‘really play for the rest of my life’. Joshua went on to achieve the Art Award, the award is presented by the Excelsia College Board to a graduate from the School of Creative and Performing Arts who has demonstrated artistic excellence, outstanding academic achievement, personal maturity, Christian commitment, and significant contributions to the college through artistic and community service. 

 

Joshua expresses that achieving the Art Award was a collective effort. ‘I think that award has all my peers’ names on it as well as mine,’ he says, attributing his success to the support, passion, and friendly competition among his peers. He acknowledges that without their commitment and camaraderie, his journey would have been much more challenging. This sense of community and mutual support was pivotal in helping him navigate the highs and lows of his artistic journey. 

 
Support systems play a vital role in navigating the challenges of artistic pursuits. For Joshua, the support came from many sources, including friends, family, and most importantly, his faith. ‘Someone who really stuck with me through absolutely everything is God. All glory to Him,’ Joshua says. Having a steadfast source of support, whether spiritual or communal, provides a foundation that can help sustain artists through their journeys. 

 

Balancing personal and academic responsibilities is crucial for success in any field, and Joshua shares practical advice on how to manage this balance effectively. He stresses the importance of knowing your priorities and planning proactively. ‘Life can get busy very quickly, especially when you’re studying,’ he notes. Joshua also highlights the necessity of being honest with oneself and recognising that it’s impossible to do everything. Learning to say no and understanding that there will be intense periods are a part of maintaining a sustainable balance. ‘In the end, it makes you appreciate the moments where you can relax…for 30 minutes before your next exam’, he jokes. 

 

For those aspiring to win an Art Award, Joshua advises focusing on the process rather than the end result. ‘Keep going, keep learning, and keep trying your best. That’s all you can do,’ he advises. He emphasises the importance of maintaining optimism and positivity, especially through difficult times. A piece of advice that resonated with him was to ‘keep the wisdom of your journey, not the weight of it.’ 

 

Joshua’s experience at Excelsia College was transformative. He praises the supportive environment and the dedication of the staff to student success. The opportunities provided by the college, such as the Oz to LA program, allowed him to broaden his horizons and take his acting internationally. This experience, among others, contributed significantly to his growth as an artist. 

 

Looking ahead, Joshua is focused on building a production company with his twin brother, Ashley. This faith-based company aims to bring stories with spiritual significance to both big and small screens. One of their upcoming projects is based on ‘The Parable of the Lost Son’. Joshua hopes to continue impacting audiences through meaningful storytelling. 

 

With the right education and community, you too can achieve your artistic dreams. Start your journey today, find out more here! 

Excelsia College is proud to be Certified™ by Great Place To Work® for another year. The prestigious award is based entirely on what current employees say about their experience working at Excelsia. This year, our results show an increase of 5% across the 20 survey focus areas compared with 2021 when Excelsia last took part in the survey.

 

Great Place To Work® is the global authority on workplace culture, employee experience, and the leadership behaviours proven to deliver market-leading revenue, employee retention and increased innovation.

 

‘Great Place To Work Certification is a highly coveted achievement that requires consistent and intentional dedication to the overall employee experience,’ says Sarah Lewis-Kulin, the Vice President of Global Recognition at Great Place To Work. She emphasises that the Certification is the sole official recognition earned by the real-time feedback of employees regarding their company culture. ‘By successfully earning this recognition, it is evident that Excelsia stands out as one of the top companies to work for, providing a great workplace environment for its employees.’

 

‘We are thrilled to become Great Place To Work-Certified™ as we consider employee experience a top priority every day,’ expressed Peter McKeon, Excelsia College CEO. ‘We owe our continued success to our team of dedicated employees at Excelsia. We celebrate and thank them for all they do to earn this incredible recognition.’

 

About Great Place to Work Certification™

 

Great Place To Work® Certification™ is the most definitive ‘employer-of-choice’ recognition that companies aspire to achieve. It is the only recognition based entirely on what employees report about their workplace experience – specifically, how consistently they experience a high-trust workplace. Great Place to Work Certification is recognised worldwide by employees and employers alike and is the global benchmark for identifying and recognising outstanding employee experience. Every year, more than 10,000 companies across 60 countries apply to get Great Place To Work-Certified. As the global authority on workplace culture, Great Place To Work® brings 30 years of groundbreaking research and data to help every place become a great place to work for all. Their proprietary platform and For All™ Model help companies evaluate the experience of every employee, with exemplary workplaces becoming Great Place To Work Certified™ or receiving recognition on a coveted Best Workplaces™ List.

 

Learn more at greatplacetowork.com

Sasha Giroux, a recent graduate of Excelsia College, has carved out a unique and promising path in the world of screen production. Sasha completed her Bachelor of Screen Production in December 2023, and she officially graduated in May 2024. Her journey, characterised by a blend of academic discipline, practical experience, and collaborative spirit, exemplifies the transformative power of dedicated education and hands-on learning.

Sasha’s educational journey began with a Diploma of Screen and Media at Sydney Film School (SFS), directly after high school. While this provided a solid foundation, she felt the need for further academic and practical refinement before embarking on her career. The recommendation of Excelsia College, with its strong partnership with SFS, presented the perfect opportunity. The ability to transfer credits and complete her bachelor’s degree in just a year and a half, while staying connected with familiar teachers, made the decision easier.


The program’s mix of theoretical knowledge and practical application, coupled with the opportunity for an exchange in Los Angeles, offered an ideal environment for her growth.

Despite the film students’ split time between Excelsia and Sydney Film School, Sasha felt a strong sense of belonging at Excelsia. The interdisciplinary collaboration among drama, music, and film students enriched her educational experience. Expressing an interest in theatre, she shadowed the stage manager for a drama production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, an experience that expanded her understanding and appreciation of live performance.

 

Excelsia’s curriculum, combining theoretical study with practical filmmaking, equipped Sasha with a comprehensive skill set. She directed three short films and worked on numerous others, gaining experience in various roles. This hands-on practice, alongside academic learning, prepared her for the professional world. ‘I feel ready to crew on professional productions and to work my way up,’ Sasha expressed. She also feels confident in her ability to create her own projects, bolstered by the knowledge and skills acquired during her studies.

Throughout her time at Excelsia and SFS, Sasha honed crucial soft skills. Teamwork, adaptability, and problem-solving became second nature through the collaborative nature of filmmaking. ‘Filmmaking is all about working with other people, adapting to different work ethics, and collaboration to create the best possible outcome,’ she notes. Managing stress and maintaining a positive, professional set environment are skills she developed extensively as a director and first assistant director.

Post-graduation, Sasha took a summer break to recharge before diving back into the film industry. She is currently producing an independent short film and working on her own projects as a writer, director, and producer. Her recent role as assistant stage manager for a KXT play and participation in several independent projects in Sydney highlight her active engagement in the industry.

To explore the opportunities for your own journey in screen production at Excelsia, visit our website here and learn more about our Bachelor of Screen Production program.

Quote: ‘Through Excelsia and Sydney Film School, I really learned how to work in teams, on set and in the pre and post production process.’

Liam Shaw, a recent recipient of the Postgraduate Achievement Award for Education from Excelsia College, exemplifies the dedication and resilience required to excel in higher education. Awarded by the School of Education, this recognition highlights Liam’s consistent application, academic excellence, artistic prowess, personal maturity, and unwavering commitment throughout his course. Here, Liam shares his journey, challenges, support systems, and strategies that propelled him to success.

Liam’s journey into the field of education was deeply rooted in his upbringing within a strong Christian community. His grandfather was a founding member of a community school in 1981, and his father served as a PDHPE teacher and sports master. This environment, deeply rooted in a faith-driven approach to education, motivated Liam to pursue a career in teaching, particularly in English and music – two subjects he cherished.

After completing high school, Liam felt a divine call to join the ministry of teaching. Encouraged to enrol at Excelsia College, he pursued a Master of Teaching (Secondary) that offered a faith-based educational framework. ‘Excelsia’s Christian lens and faith-based direction resonated with my beliefs and goals,’ he explained.

Balancing the demands of a part-time teaching role while pursuing his Master of Teaching (Secondary) was no small feat. ‘The workload was intense,’ Liam admits. However, he overcame these challenges through sheer determination and a supportive network. ‘I pushed myself to work hard whenever possible and surrounded myself with people who motivated me,’ he says. A group of friends pursuing the same degree formed a study group, offering mutual support. ‘Our Excelsia College WhatsApp group chat certainly made for some fun times!’ Liam recalls.

Liam acknowledges the pivotal role mentors and support systems played in his academic journey. His friends shared the learning journey, creating a vibrant and supportive environment. Moreover, the Excelsia team, particularly lecturers like Liam Webb for Music and Dr Maria Lobytsyna for English, offered extensive guidance and feedback, ensuring he grasped complex concepts and honed his skills.

For current students aspiring to achieve success, Liam emphasises the importance of hard work, resilience, and a willingness to accept constructive criticism. ‘The tutors are there to help you succeed in the real world,’ he advises. Liam also highlights the significance of finding a supportive community. ‘Surround yourself with people who will encourage and support you through your degree.’ Liam’s success can be attributed to his approach to time management and organisation. ‘Using time wisely and keeping my workspace uncluttered helped me stay focused,’ he shares. Seeking support when needed and actively seeking feedback on his work were also crucial strategies.

Liam Shaw’s journey exemplifies the power of community, faith, and determination in achieving academic excellence. His story offers valuable insights and strategies for aspiring students, highlighting the importance of hard work. As Liam continues his journey in the field of education, his strategies and experiences serve as a guiding light for those aspiring to follow in his footsteps.

Ready to turn your passion into a successful career like Liam? Join Excelsia College and benefit from our supportive, faith-based community and guidance. Find out more here.

Lakshmi initially came to Australia to pursue a Master of Public Health. Following her studies, she transitioned into a role as a health and safety officer in a warehouse, where she connected with other international students sharing similar interests. This experience motivated her to pursue a Master of Social Work (Qualifying) with a focus on supporting individuals in crisis situations. Lakshmi started her journey at Excelsia College, then later became pregnant during her studies.

Reflecting on her time at Excelsia, Lakshmi describes it as exceptional. She highlights the small cohort size of ten people, which created a personalised learning environment where her voice was always heard. She appreciated the clear, detailed course units and reinforcing assignments. Despite her pregnancy and postpartum period, she chose not to take a break, feeling well-supported by the program. ‘Five weeks after giving birth, I remember receiving intensive support from my supervisor and field liaison officer,’ she recalls.

Lakshmi gained valuable experience and enjoyed her placements. Her direct placement at a public school provided insights into the education system, government support mechanisms, and student wellbeing processes, enhancing her assessment, communication, documentation, and presentation skills. Her indirect placement at Excelsia involved foundational research for a student support project, boosting her accountability, professional integrity, research, and documentation skills while strengthening her confidence as a social work professional. ‘Placements were crucial in applying social work knowledge, skills, and theories into practice, helping me shape my professional interests and identity,’ Lakshmi expresses.

Towards the end of her placement, Lakshmi was offered a position, despite being a student and seven months pregnant at the time. She worked there for two months before taking maternity leave. Upon completing her studies, Lakshmi applied for various positions. Her positive relationships with placement supervisors allowed them to provide references for her current graduate role. She remains dedicated to progressing towards a specialist role and plans to explore different areas of social work, with aspirations to enter academia in the future.

With a bachelor’s degree in science majoring in psychology already under his belt, Andy Chin found counselling to be the perfect fit for integrating Christian ministry. ‘Being a member of Wesley International Congregation, I knew of the then Wesley Institute (now Excelsia College) and its solid reputation, and I knew others who had studied there, so it made my decision easy. After I spent a season of seeking God in prayer, it was the right next step,’ explains Andy. In 1999, he took the plunge and enrolled in a Graduate Diploma of Counselling.

 

For many students it’s the little memories which stand out when they reflect on their time at a tertiary institution, and for Andy it’s no different. ‘I remember the little canteen run by a lovely Korean couple. I enjoyed the chapel services. We had an awesome cohort in the counselling class which was stimulating. Our lecturers were relatable and predominantly engaging and insightful. It was also fun to engage occasionally with students and lecturers from other departments. I would describe the College as inspiring, creative and authentic.’

 

Andy also found that Excelsia provided him with solid foundations for incorporating Christian counselling in ministry. ‘I loved being able to understand how to interweave my university psychology studies with a grounded faith in Christ. The foundational theology component was helpful, insightful and encouraging.’ For Andy, his defining moment came in his Integrative Studies classes which sought to make sense of psychology and Christian faith. After graduating from Excelsia in 2001 and with solid foundations laid, Andy practised counselling within a pastoral context. It was a year after graduating that Andy’s call to ministry became loud and clear and he went on to pursue further theological studies.

 

Today, Andy works as the Senior Pastor of Wesley International Congregation, Wesley Mission. The organisation holds a special place in Andy’s walk as he came to faith in this congregation and continued his journey, joining the staff team in 2001 as an intern and then as a pastor in 2004. Excelsia is pleased to continue this connection with Wesley International Congregation and since May 2022 the church has been using the College’s auditorium for worship services. Andy is also involved with various interdenominational ministries with a hope and desire to see collaborative gospel work locally and globally.

 

When Andy found out that Excelsia is celebrating its 40th anniversary, he was very excited to see that the College has continued to grow from strength to strength. ‘I pray the Spirit of God may continue to pour out significant favour on this college and that it will continue to be a source of life and learning for generations to come for the gospel of Jesus! I look back fondly at these times and rejoice with you all!’

 

If you are interested in going into pastoral care or ministry and want to gain the helpful foundations about how to relate to others, why not consider Excelsia College’s counselling courses? The Graduate Diploma of Counselling helps to provide a foretaste and if you decide this is something you want to pursue in a professional capacity, you can continue by studying the Master of Counselling.

Excelsia College | Andy Chin – Counselling and ministry really do go hand in hand

After discovering Excelsia College through homeschooling connections and attending an open day in 2015, Mikaela Wu decided to enrol in a Bachelor of Music. It also helped that theology was embedded in the music course as she was wanting to increase both her musical and biblical knowledge.

 

Fast forward nearly seven years and Mikaela graduated from Excelsia with undergraduate and postgraduate studies in music. After finishing her Bachelor of Music in flute in 2018 and working for a year and a half, she was encouraged by staff at Excelsia to do a master’s. ‘I’d had enough of spending time on one instrument (classical flute) and practising on my own. When I found out I could do my Master of Music, majoring in conducting, and hang out with people all the time, I decided to start my studies,’ says Mikaela.

 

The budding conductor enjoyed getting to know her lecturers on a more personal level due to the smaller class sizes. This in turn allowed her to be involved in musical events outside the College. ‘I played in many different ensembles with a variety of instruments including Strathfield Symphony Orchestra under the instruction of Dr Sada Muramatsu.’

 

Whilst Mikaela focused on classical flute in the Bachelor of Music course, she learned far more than just the skills for a career playing that instrument. ‘I learned music production and live audio skills, how to conduct and how to compose in other styles. I also stage managed and crewed for shows and even acted in a musical!’ Despite some of the difficulties learning these skills at the time, Mikaela is thankful that she persevered and for the opportunities and connections she made at Excelsia. ‘I’m currently writing a musical with a friend from the drama department at Excelsia and conducting and managing various choral and orchestra concerts. I am glad that I didn’t get stuck with a niche skill set, where I could only perform flute. In terms of extending my biblical knowledge, the classes at Excelsia led me to take some subjects at Bible college to continue that learning journey.’

 

A key highlight for Mikaela was her time in choir. ‘As an instrumentalist, it was great to have a chance to regularly work on singing and in a class with all the year groups together. It also definitely made a difference to my aural skills in terms of harmony,’ she explains. The musician is also thankful for the space offered to be creative and the collaborative time spent working on music showcases with other students. ‘There was a variety of ideas and we enjoyed making music together and trying different styles.’ Mikaela appreciated the adaptability of the showcases which continually morphed to suit the current cohort of students. ‘This flexibility allows students to better display their skill sets’.

 

Since finishing her Master of Music, Mikaela works with Wollongong Conservatorium Community Orchestra and Bankstown City Choir. Within these groups, Mikaela has enjoyed helping members to improve their musical skills, gain confidence, and put on concerts. On top of this, she teaches choir at a homeschool creative arts group and tutors students privately at home and in schools. She has also started playing violin and practises and performs with Excelsia Chamber Orchestra on Thursday nights! Mikaela is thankful to Excelsia for helping to improve her musicianship. ‘On top of improving my conducting, I learned more about music pedagogy throughout my master’s course which has affected the way I teach both ensembles and private lessons,’ she explains.

 

If you want to explore a variety of instruments, have the opportunity to join different musical groups and orchestras and gain a variety of skills to set you up for a career in music, why not explore Excelsia College’s Bachelor of Music or Master of Music?

Excelsia College | Mikaela Wu - How studies stretched this budding conductor’s wings

Amy Lawler had an excellent experience studying at Excelsia College, undergoing a Creative and Performing Arts degree. What appealed to Amy most was the flexibility offered by the degree, allowing her to tailor her academic path according to her evolving creative interests. Initially drawn to performance, Amy discovered a newfound passion for directing, writing, and stage management, broadening her horizons within the arts.

Transitioning from academia to the professional realm, Amy found support in Excelsia’s TP and Grad-Show initiatives, providing practical experience crucial for her integration into the creative and performing arts industry. The hands-on nature of practical classes further empowered her, fostering an environment where creativity thrived and practical skills flourished. ‘Being able to create my own work any way that I wanted was so encouraging, and I know that most people in my surrounding cohorts felt the same regarding their shows. Learning how to stage manage and produce have been the most valuable tools as it showed me how to be practical within the industry,’ Amy stated. Her adeptness in various facets of the industry, from technical to creative roles, underscored the effectiveness of her academic foundation as a springboard for her career.

Amy’s skillset was significantly enriched by Excelsia’s intimate learning environments provided through small group settings and personalised mentorship sessions. Recognising the significance of such interactions, Amy valued Excelsia’s close-knit learning communities, which facilitated individualised attention from lecturers and fostered meaningful connections with her classmates. Amy’s ability to diversify her skill set played a pivotal role in her professional advancement, empowering her to tackle the industry’s challenges with adaptability and versatility.

For Amy, true knowledge is gained through hands-on experience in professional settings. She urges others to leverage their education to build confidence and competence, emphasising Excelsia’s role in instilling her self-sufficiency and initiative. ‘I learned that if you want something, go and make it yourself! That’s where I’ve been most successful in all my endeavours, both while studying and in the industry now.’ This mindset has been instrumental in her academic and professional efforts, reinforcing her belief in seizing opportunities and forging one’s own path to success.

Having now worked across the entertainment industry as a director, stage manager, producer, and more, Amy is an accomplished theatre and film practitioner. Her most notable directorial credits include Vickie & Vinnie, Proof, Single Ladies, and the animated exhibition Hunter’s Mark along with the original production of Periergeia. As a stage manager, her highlights include Urinetown, Peer Gynt, Labyrinth, and the children’s musical Seasonal Warriors: Be Seedsational. Amy’s latest endeavour involved directing Periergeia, a heartfelt story showcased at Excelsia College just last month.

If you’re curious about exploring a career in the creative and performing arts industry and want to learn from industry professionals, find out more about our courses here.

 

 

From Academia to Artistry: Amy's Excelsia Journey | Excelsia College

Oz to LA is an elective unit which provides drama students with the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, California to study at the Los Angeles Performing Arts Conservatory (LAPAC) and learn various acting and filmmaking techniques, as well as the mechanics of the entertainment industry. 
 
The Oz to LA unit includes attendance and participation in various industry events and activities. These activities typically, though subject to change, include film premieres, industry conferences and Q&As with industry professionals, film studio tours and networking events. Through working with established industry practitioners and attending various conferences and industry activities, students develop film industry contacts and gain valuable insight into the Hollywood film industry. 
 
Joss Chalmers, an alumnus of Excelsia College and former Bachelor of Dramatic Art student, attests to the unit’s impact on her journey. She emphasises the value of being taught by experienced professionals genuinely invested in the growth of their students, both as artists and individuals. Joss reflects on her time in Hollywood, stating, ‘Studying and training screen acting in Hollywood was a super inspiring experience. 
 
LAPAC’s acting training prepares artists for delivering emotional truth in film, television, and theatre performance. They focus on teaching key acting techniques that develop the actor’s physical and vocal skills, and teaching skills that prepare actors for auditions and succeeding in the theatre, film and television industries. LAPAC supports actors toward the goal of behaving moment to moment, spontaneously, truthfully, emotionally, and imaginatively all at the same time so that the actor is grounded and prepared to develop character work from a real place. 
 
LAPAC’s filmmaking training empowers students to effectively express themselves by helping them to discover the personal connection to their work, and to give them the tools necessary to bring that personal expression to life. During the students’ time in LA they will create an original short film with LAPAC tutors guiding them through the various stages of production and teaching expert skills in story development, pre-production planning, designing, camera perspectives, cinematic tools, editing, dramatic finalising, and sound design. 
 
Oz to LA is a unit for students who are serious about pursuing and developing skills in preparation for an acting or filmmaking vocation. The unit is both a training and a networking opportunity, with exposure to potential employers via real and/or mock auditions, filmmaking experience, seminars, workshops and casting agent critiques.  
 
Due to the level of maturity required for such a unit, a robust application process is followed which will also help students to develop professionally. Students intending to apply are only accepted into the unit if their audition or portfolio, interview, academic record and other relevant considerations are satisfactory. If you are serious about pursuing a career in dramatic arts then look no further than the Bachelor of Dramatic Art, more information can be found here.

In a landmark decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), thousands of aged care workers are set to receive substantial wage increases, marking a significant milestone for the sector. The ruling will see wage boosts of up to nearly 30 percent for these dedicated professionals.

According to Gerard Hayes, president of the Health Services Union (HSU), the wage increases vary based on the role of the worker. Personal carers stand to gain between 18 and 28 per cent, while home care workers could see raises between 15 and 26 per cent. This means some employees could enjoy a salary hike of more than $9 per hour, with personal carers potentially earning $32.52 per hour, up from $23.10.

Hayes hailed the decision as ‘historic’ and ‘life-changing’, noting that it brings aged care wages more in line with those in the public health system. He expressed optimism that the wage increases will attract more workers to the aged care sector, particularly in regional areas, where the demand for skilled professionals is high.

Anglicare, a leading aged care provider, welcomed the decision and urged the federal government to fully fund the wage increases. Kasy Chambers, executive director of Anglicare Australia, emphasised the significance of the decision in recognising the undervalued contributions of aged care workers, particularly women.

‘We are particularly pleased that today’s decision recognises that aged care workers have been underpaid as a female-dominated workforce and recognises the important contribution of care work,’ stated Chambers. The wage increases mark a significant step towards addressing long-standing wage disparities within the sector.

At Excelsia you can study a Graduate Diploma of Aged Care or a Graduate Certificate in Aged Care.