Higher education access used to be a hurdle, one that if you didn't jump over you were locked out, but the tide is turning on that access, with the University College at the forefront of that expansion.
University College chief executive Lee Whiteley, a former tradesman, said after two years of operation, the organisation was looking to expand its access footprint, to capture the market of those who may not have used higher education in the past.
"I was a tradesman, I know what it's like when I turned up to university and knocked on the door; they looked at me and said no, you have to start at the bottom and we're not even sure we're interested (in you)," he said.
"Access is a huge issue for Tasmania and it's something I see the University College having a huge role to play in (changing that)."
University College launched officially two years ago as an applied course provider, that offers vocational education in the form of associate degrees.
It operates across Tasmania but offers distinctive courses in each region to play to the region's strengths.
In Launceston, it operates the extremely popular accelerated Associate Degree in Business and Associate Degree in Agribusiness, as an homage to Northern Tasmania's start-up culture, the small business community and its rural heritage.
Mr Whiteley said the bread and butter student of the University College was not school leavers, but rather older people who may already be in the workforce.
"We are not just about the kids coming out of year 12 but we are about the gainfully employed person who wants to come back and get that extra set of skills," he said.
Because of this, adult education will play a larger role in how University College continues to expand past its existing offerings.
"In Tasmania, we are the only state where you can't go back and achieve your ATAR or TCE. We play a big part in that but we could play a bigger part (assisting people into higher education)," he said.
"Industry is crying out for people with these skills but we are still talking about either/or rather than how to merge the two (disciplines)."University College chief executive Lee Whiteley
Mr Whiteley said the University College sat, as an institution, somewhere in the middle between traditional vocational education providers like TasTAFE and the traditional university pathways.
He said collaboration between all forms of higher education and vocational education would be key to improving attainment and access in Tasmania.
"Industry is crying out for people with these skills but we are still talking about either/or rather than how to merge the two (disciplines)."
While the University College did operate in the VET space, Mr Whitelely said it wasn't out to try and take students from TasTAFE and there was significant collaboration between the two institutions.
"We don't want to get into a position where we (University College and TasTAFE) are competing for the same pool of students because you end up fragmenting," he said.
The two institutions were working together to provide options where credit could be given to people who have completed some qualifications at TasTAFE if they were seeking to study an Associate Degree at the University College.
Mr Whiteley said they were also looking to trial a higher education apprenticeship, where students could do their trade as a traditional apprentice and overlay it with an associate degree.
It would take them about five years to complete but they would be paid the same as they would if they were following a traditional apprenticeship, which Mr Whiteley says makes it a lucrative option.
"When you talk to industry about their need to have employees who are at that next level because of the technology they are introducing, so we are trying to figure out how to work in that space to give apprentices the skills and qualifications industry need," he said.
The University College's modus operandi has been and always will be about finding a way to plug skills gaps in industry while finding fast-tracked ways to get students upskilled and job-ready.
Mr Whiteley said he was on several boards and industry panels, aimed at identifying future jobs trends and markets or industries that may emerge in Tasmania over the next decade.
"We've been thinking about this a lot: about what are the applied skills where the University College can help plug that gap and the skills shortage.
"I think it creates an opportunity to upskill a whole generation of workers into really good jobs and a diversity of jobs."
Mr Whiteley said those industries they were discussing included the Hydro projects on the West Coast, Project Marinus and other pumped hydro projects.