jason zong

Weihong (Jason) Zong

Australian Foundation Program and Pathway to University of Technology, Sydney

My name is Jason, also known as Weihong Zong, from Guangzhou in China.

I am currently completing the Australian Foundation Program at Aspire, a one year course that will lead me ultimately to further studies at the University of Technology, Sydney.

The Foundation Program is helping me bridge the language and cultural gap between home and my new life in Australia. I am given so much support and encouragement from the lecturers, it feels like I am learning something new and settling down with every passing week.

It can be completed in as little as eight months, and gives me a qualification equivalent to an Australian Year 12 leavers certificate. This means I can go through to a diploma course through Aspire, which can then lead to my second year of study at UTS because UTS is a pathway partner of Aspire.

I also really enjoy sport, especially basketball, and I have been enjoying the sports facilities open to Aspire at the ICMS campuses. These include the gym, basketball courts, tennis and more.

Looking ahead, I am excited about the opportunities that lie before me. So much is possible after completing the Australian Foundation Program.


Bai Max Li

Bai (Max) Li

Diploma of Business and Pathway to UTS

My name is Bai (Max) Li. I am proud to be an international student from Beijing, China.

I completed my Diploma of Business at Aspire and was accepted into my second year of a Bachelor of Business at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).

UTS is a pathway partner of Aspire so by doing my Diploma of Business through Aspire, it counts as a first year of study for my bachelor degree.

Not only that, but I have also been accepted into the Cathay Pacific Cadet Pilot Program which I will do as I continue studying.

My experience at Aspire was a rewarding and enriching experience. The journey through the Aspire program offered a mix of hands-on learning and theoretical study and there was a lot of support from the lecturers so I never felt out of my depth.

I am grateful for all the opportunities that my Aspire Diploma of Business has given me. Not only did it set me on a path to further academic achievements at UTS, but it also opened the door to an exciting career path with the Cathay Pacific Cadet Pilot Program.


jewel aspire


My name is Jewel. I’m from Myanmar and am currently an ICMS student.

Let me share with you how I went from Aspire to a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) at the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS). If I can do it, you can too.

The Australian Foundation Program is a one year course that offers a pathway to ICMS. Having done one year with Aspire completing the Australian Foundation Program, I went straight into my second year at ICMS.

You can choose from any of the bachelor degrees offered at ICMS after completing the AFP, from business to events, hospitality management, fashion, accounting, sports management and more.

The program is designed to help students, like me, who had just arrived in Australia. It provided a gentle introduction to the academic system and allowed me to adjust to the new environment with ease.

You can study at the City Campus in Sydney or at the Northern Beaches campus in Manly. The City Campus is convenient if you live in the city and want to work while studying.

The Australian Foundation program comes highly recommended from me. The teachers there were incredibly supportive, making the learning process easy to navigate. The program was structured in a way that made it simple to progress through.

To any prospective students, I would say that the Aspire Foundation program is an excellent stepping stone to a successful academic journey. It provides you with the tools and guidance you need to thrive, especially if you’re an international student. Take the opportunity and make the most of it.

Yidi (Martin) Du

Yidi (Martin) Du

My name is Yidi (Martin) Du, I’m from ShenZhen China, and am currently studying as part of the Australian Foundation Program. I will follow this with the Diploma of Business from Aspire so that I can pathway into the 2nd year of a bachelor degree at University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

By the time I have finished the diploma at Aspire, I will have completed the first year of the UTS, which means I will only need to successfully complete two more years at UTS to graduate with an bachelor degree. I am confident that the UTS degree will provide me with the knowledge and skills required to excel in my career.

To get there, Aspire’s superb English teaching system is a big factor for international students. The learning journey has been exceptional. It’s complemented by the friendliness of my classmates and the enthusiasm of our teachers. The teaching methodology encourages us to ask questions anytime during the class, ensuring we grasp all concepts fully.

I can study at either the ICMS Northern Beaches campus in Manly or at the City Campus in the city of Sydney. The convenience and flexibility is a great help, particularly if students choose to live and work in Sydney while studying.

Being here at Aspire, before I continue on my study path at UTS, has provided me with a clear direction for my future studies and helped me discover my true passions.

For prospective students, I wholeheartedly recommend Aspire as your educational choice. It’s an optimal environment for mastering English, integrating into Australian society, and creating a path for advanced studies at universities such as UTS through the Aspire Foundation.

I am grateful for the solid foundation that this program has provided me, offering me a unique learning experience that has set me up for future success.

Paphawarin Janthawadee

Paphawarin Janthawadee

As an Aspire Institute student, my name is Paphawarin Janthawadee, originally from Thailand.

I’m currently studying the Australian Foundation Program at Aspire.

The one year program is designed to equip me with the essential study, language, and cultural skills necessary to succeed in Australia.

If you haven’t completed the equivalent of an Australian Year 12 of schooling, the Australian Foundation Program is an excellent choice for you.

This is especially important for me as someone who is new to studying in the country. It provides a solid foundation for you to progress into an Aspire Institute diploma and, if you choose, you can articulate into a bachelor’s degree with one of the university or college partners.

The experience of studying here brings me immense joy, largely because of the teachers. I get all the help and support I need from the lecturers. Their friendliness in our progress is palpable. The coursework, while challenging, is not impossible; all it requires is a dedication to hard work.

You can study at the ICMS Northern Beaches campus or in the City Campus which is located right in the heart of Sydney. The City Campus is a great choice if you have found a place to stay in Sydney.

This program is a big stepping stone towards achieving my academic and career goals. By gaining a strong foundation, I can establish myself as a capable and successful student in Australia. It is an exciting opportunity that I am so happy to be a part of.

To future students, my advice is straightforward:

“Go for it because you’ve got nothing to lose by coming here. It is such a social and educational environment that it’s impossible not to make friends. The classes are small, so you always feel heard and you can engage with the content in the best way possible. It’s just the perfect base for building your future career.”

Aspire English Launches Brand New Cambridge English Courses

Aspire Institute is excited to share that new Cambridge English courses have recently commenced at Aspire English! Around the world, being able to speak English will give you an advantage in whatever you choose to do, and at Aspire English students learn the world’s language in a truly international environment.

Brand new Cambridge English courses, which recently replaced the Academic English programs, have already commenced at Aspire English. 

Aspire English is part of the greater community at Aspire Institute and the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS). This means that your classes will be on the same campus as these institutions, and you could continue on to a Diploma or Degree once you have finished your English language course.

What is Cambridge English? 

Cambridge has the world’s most recognised English exams and tests. With more than 25,000 organisations in 130 countries around the world, students can rely on their secure exams and tests as proof of English language ability.

Cambridge English offers two levels to their test preparation courses: B2 First and C1 Advanced, which you can enrol in at Aspire English. You can choose to commence into a Cambridge English course after completing the General English course as a pathway into a Diploma or Degree, or simply use the course as a stand-alone qualification to make the most out of work or studying in Australia! 

A Cambridge English B2 First certificate is recognised as proof of upper-intermediate level achievement in learning English by many administrative and service-based employers. It is also accepted by a wide range of educational Institutions worldwide for further study purposes.

This course is designed to help students prepare for the B2 First exam and to develop their English language skills to make the most of study, working and living in English-speaking countries.

A Cambridge English C1 Advanced qualification is recognised as proof of high-level achievement in learning English by many employers, Higher Education Institutions and government departments around the world. 

This course is designed to help students prepare for the C1 Advanced exam and to develop their English language skills to make the most of study, working and living in English-speaking countries.

Who should study a Cambridge English course? 

Cambridge English courses will help students to prepare for the Cambridge English examinations.

This course is designed for students who would like to improve their English skills with the aim of studying further in an English-speaking University or College or those who want to apply for a job in Australia.

Cambridge English B2 First is ideal for you if…

  • You want help to pass the Cambridge English B2 First examination
  • You want to learn about the Cambridge English B2 First examination (time, order, format)
  • You want to study further in Australia
  • You have upper-intermediate level English language skills
  • You want to get a better job in Australia
  • You want to improve your English reading, writing and overall vocabulary
  • You have an IELTS or equivalent of 5.5 overall

Cambridge English C1 Advanced is ideal for you if…

  • You want help to pass the Cambridge English C1 Advanced examination
  • You want to learn about the Cambridge English C1 Advanced examination (time, order, format)
  • You want to study further in Australia
  • You have upper-intermediate level English language skills
  • You want to get a better job in Australia
  • You want to improve your English reading, writing, text analysis and vocabulary
  • You have an IELTS or equivalent of 6.5 overall

Cambridge English has created an empowering learning experience for millions of learners everywhere, and is built on unique insights from research, expertise and experience. Each year, over 5.5 million students take Cambridge English tests and qualifications. 

“Having Cambridge English courses at Aspire English will provide students with the best opportunity to develop their English language skills and become confident English speakers,” said Linda Karlsson, Manager, English & Foundation Programs. 

Interested in developing your English skills? Aspire English will provide you with the very best English learning experience, allowing you to make the most out of studying or working in beautiful Sydney, Australia.

To find out more about Cambridge English courses, click here. 

To learn more about Aspire English, click here. 

Diploma vs Degree

Diploma vs. Degree: What’s the Difference?

Studying further is the best way to get into the career of your choice. Whether you choose to study a diploma and get qualified quickly, or study a bachelor degree and gain a more well-rounded education due to the longer length of the course, is often a personal decision.

One of the most common questions asked by school leavers is about what the difference is between a diploma and a degree.

“Choosing a diploma vs degree can sometimes be a confusing decision, but finding out more about each of these qualifications is the first step to kick starting your higher education journey,” said ICMS Student Advisor Issey Wilson.

Diploma vs Degree

What Is a Diploma?

Duration: A diploma is a certificate course that typically takes about one (1) year to complete.

Job Outcomes: A diploma qualification provides you with the skills and knowledge needed to get an entry level job in your area of specialisation.

Pathways: Sometimes you also have the option to use your diploma as a pathway to further studies at a university or college. For example, you could study a Diploma of Business at Aspire Institute.

Structure and Subjects: At the Aspire Institute a diploma is two trimesters (2 x 14 weeks), with four subjects per trimester. Some of the subjects studied under a Diploma of Business include:

  • Pathway to Success
  • Marketing
  • Management Solutions for a Changing World
  • Global Citizenship

Students who complete this qualification can use this diploma as a stand-alone qualification, or as a pathway to a Bachelor of Business degree.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Diploma?

A diploma could be right for you if you are wanting to gain an entry level job in your field in a short time.

Diploma Courses Advantages:


  • Can be completed more quickly than a bachelor degree;
  • Can have lower entry requirements, making them easier to get into;
  • May offer additional support to students needing extra assistance;
  • Give students the option to progress to a bachelor degree; and
  • Are an opportunity to gain confidence before embarking on further studies.

Diploma Courses Disadvantages:

  • Employers may favour a job candidate with a bachelor degree;
  • The range of jobs available to diploma qualified students is not as broad;
  • Those with diploma qualifications may need to work longer and harder to gain the level of seniority that a bachelor degree qualified person needs to;
  • In the future, diploma qualified employees may find themselves excluded from consideration for more senior managerial roles; and
  • The shorter time studying a diploma means that students may miss out on the university experience that is a valuable time to make connections, develop independence from parents and, of course, have fun.

What Is a Bachelor Degree?

Duration: A bachelor degree is an advanced tertiary education option awarded by a university or college that typically takes between 3-7 years to complete, depending on your choice of specialisation, such as hospitality, marketing or sport, for example.

Job Outcomes: A bachelor degree is often the minimum qualification sought by employers looking to place an employee with a view to progressing that person to a more senior management-level role.

Pathways: Depending on your level of education, you can do an undergraduate (bachelor) or postgraduate (master) degree. Individuals will first study an undergraduate degree, and then pursue a postgraduate degree – if they wish to further their education.

Structure and Subjects: Another key factor that differentiates a diploma vs degree is that a degree not only includes specialisation subjects, but also core subjects such as Marketing or Business. This allows for your education to be both well rounded and versatile. For example, a Bachelor of Business from ICMS is a three year degree with four subjects per trimester, as well as an included Industry Training component. The industry training included in the bachelor degree means that bachelor degree qualified students receive more than a formal academic qualification. They also gain real work experience, connections within companies – and an impressive CV.

The first year core subjects of the Bachelor of Business degree are the same as the Diploma of Business subjects. Along with the core subjects, other subjects offered within this degree include:

  • Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Pricing and Distribution
  • Guerrilla Marketing
  • Event Production

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Degree?

Bachelor Degree Advantages:

One key advantage of pursuing a degree is that most employers require one when seeking new employees. With a degree:

  • You will have increased job opportunities;
  • Can earn a higher potential income with a bachelor degree as opposed to a diploma;
  • May be offered more networking and travel opportunities;
  • Will be more likely to be considered for senior roles in the future;
  • May have more job benefits such as insurance and retirement;
  • Will have the opportunity to learn additional critical skills that aren’t included in a diploma program; and
  • Having a degree also showcases commitment and perseverance to future employers.

Bachelor Degree Disadvantages:

A degree is more expensive than a diploma.

A degree takes longer to complete than a diploma.

What’s the Best Option?

“In the end there is no definite right or wrong answer to the question of whether you should study a diploma or a degree. It comes down to what your own goals are for your career, your personal circumstances and the type of future you hope to create for yourself,” said Issey Wilson.

Diploma courses are offered at Aspire Institute. To read about Aspire Diplomas, click here.

Contact Aspire on Tel: +61 (2) 9466 1150 or email info@aspire.edu.au for even further assistance.

Bachelor and Master degrees are offered at ICMS. To read about degrees offered at ICMS, click here. 

Aspire now offers new Diploma of Business (Accounting)

NEW Diploma of Business (Accounting) now offered at Aspire!

We have some exciting news for those looking to pursue a career in the potentially lucrative accounting industry. The Aspire Institute’s new Diploma of Business (Accounting) is now accepting enrolments! This is a stand-alone diploma qualification which can also be used as a pathway to a bachelor degree at the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS). 

This course produces graduates who are professionally competent and capable of taking their place in a competitive global environment. Graduates will have learnt how to analyse data and advise on ethical and sustainable solutions for global business practices. They will have an understanding of the fundamentals of business and have the skills to be able to make an immediate contribution to the specialised area of accounting. 

This Diploma AQF level 5 course includes subjects such as Financial and Commercial Literacy, Pathway to Success, and Data Informed Decision Making, allowing students to explore a range of career pathways within business and management. The course is offered to both domestic and international students and is selectable on the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

Pursuing an accounting career is an excellent choice for individuals who are interested in finance, numbers, and general business activities. The Diploma of Business (Accounting) positions graduates for roles such as: Assistant Accountant, Finance Officer, Office Assistant , Administration Officer, Cost Clerk, Office Clerk, Accounts Payable Coordinator, and Accounts Receivable Coordinator.

Not only are those with key accounting skills in high demand throughout the business world, but a career within this industry provides individuals with a consistent schedule, various salary perks and a wide array of global opportunities.

Diploma of Business (Accounting) Program Manager, Marcela Hertnekyova, advises students pursuing this diploma to “work hard, get as much exposure to the industry as possible during their studies, network with other peers within the profession and not to be afraid to pursue their dreams working for large organisations.”

Upon successful completion of the Diploma of Business (Accounting), graduates will receive credit for subjects which are part of a bachelor degree at ICMS – giving them the option to transition from their diploma into the second year, should they wish to pursue further higher education studies such as the Bachelor of Business Management (Accounting).

To read more about this incredible diploma course, click here.

Apply now for the Aspire Diploma of Business (Accounting) and launch your financial career today!

CRICOS Code: 106408F

Fashion student standing with laptop in fashion boutique.

Exciting New Fashion Diploma Offered at Aspire

Aspire now offers an exciting new diploma for those interested in business, fashion, and retail management, and are looking for a fun, short course to kick-start their fashion career!

The new Diploma of Business (Fashion and Global Brand Management) is designed to equip students with business skills, combined with an introduction into the exciting, trillion-dollar fashion industry. 

Along with being incredibly creative and exciting, the fashion world is also extremely fast-paced. So, receiving a fashion qualification in under a year allows students to quickly gain both the knowledge and skills needed to pursue an entry-level fashion role.

“Fashion and Global Brand Management is dynamic, fast moving and requires a fast thinking, entrepreneurial mindset” said Fashion and Marketing Program Manager Nicole Venter. “The reason many brands fail isn’t because of the product, it’s often because of the lack of understanding on how to manage the brand.”

The Diploma of Business (Fashion and Global Brand Management) offers students a stand-alone diploma qualification through the Aspire Institute or, should they wish to pursue further studies, they could choose to use their diploma qualification as a pathway into the second year of a Bachelor of Business (Fashion and Global Brand Management) at the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS).

Some of the subjects studied within this diploma include Styling and Creative Direction, Principles of Marketing, as well as Introduction to the Fashion and Retail Industry.

Upon successful completion of the Diploma of Business (Fashion and Global Brand Management), students receive advanced standing for completed subjects which are part of a bachelor degree at ICMS.

All Aspire diploma students are part of the greater ICMS student community, with lectures held at our Northern Beaches Campus or at our new City Campus, subject to availability. Aspire students receive dedicated academic support, including study skills.

To read more about this brand new diploma course, click here.

Aspire Diploma a pathway to a Macquarie University degree

A unique opportunity exists for students to complete a one year Aspire Business Diploma and go straight through to their second year of a prestigious Macquarie University business degree thanks to a ground breaking pathway agreement between the two institutions.

The Macquarie University pathway agreement means students can choose to complete either the university’s esteemed Bachelor of Commerce or Bachelor of Business Administration degrees in three years, with the second and third year completed with Macquarie.

Macquarie University is ranked among the top 1 per cent of universities in the world,1 have three subjects ranked in the top 50 globally and seven in the top 100,2 and were the first Australian university to introduce a global research pathway. They are also ranked number nine in Australia for employability.3

‘We are delighted to collaborate with ICMS and open up new opportunities for bright students to accelerate their potential and future career. We look forward to working with ICMS and welcoming students to the second year of our world leading business degrees.” David Harrison, Executive Director, International – Macquarie International.

Aspire Institute, with two campuses located in Manly (Northern Beaches), NSW, and in the Sydney CBD, offers a range of pathway courses articulating to a variety of degrees. Aspire Institute is operated by ICMS.

“We are honoured to be working with Macquarie University, recognised globally for excellence in academia and graduate employability, we have a long successful history in collaboration and its fantastic to see this continue”. International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) chief executive Rowan Courtney-O’Connor said.

Students with a completed Aspire Diploma of Business (CRICOS code: 0101112) are eligible to apply for the second year of studies of either a Macquarie University Bachelor of Business Administration (CRICOS code: 027343K) or Macquarie University Bachelor of Commerce (CRICOS code: 048246D).

“This is powerful because it allows Aspire students to go directly to the second year of the Macquarie University business degree program,” Courtney-O’Connor said.

“This pathway agreement not only represents a brilliant opportunity for students wishing to graduate with a Macquarie degree but also validates the excellence of our Aspire business diploma program.”

The Aspire Diploma of Business can be completed on campus or online. For more information, click here: https://aspire.edu.au/courses/diplomas/diploma-of-business/

1 QS World University Rankings, 2021
2 QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020
3 QS Graduate Employability Rankings, 2020