Waterproofing teacher, Roeland Treitsch, is well travelled, well educated, passionate about teaching and a self-proclaimed perfectionist.
Originally from the Netherlands and based in Melbourne for the last 12 years, Roeland completed a Bachelor of Education in the Netherlands and decided post study to travel and see the world. It was on his travels and adventures that Roeland decided to stay a while in Australia and fortunately for us, he is now passing on superior skills and knowledge in Waterproofing; a niche field within the plumbing industry and providing healthy job prospects for apprentices.
Roeland says his degree ‘prepared me for my current position as a teacher’, but when pressed on what made him get into Waterproofing, he says ‘I wanted the challenge and satisfaction of running my own business. I love working with my hands, so I started a home improvement business due to the low overheads and the fact there are plenty of people needing jobs done around the house.’
During those early years of business, he specialised in bathroom renovations and did a lot of waterproofing himself. No doubt he was already good at it, but he ‘wanted to know the science on how waterproofing worked’, so put himself through our waterproofing program. Over the past 18 months, Roeland has been teaching full-time at Melbourne Polytechnic so he’s come full circle.
When he completed the course, the opportunity arose for Roeland to do sessional teaching. An initial two teaching days combined well with this business as it meant he had the best of both worlds and was ‘still on the tools’! It also worked well in delivering relevant content to students. Eventually, Roeland was offered a full-time contract and ‘had to make the decision whether to keep his business or teach others how to go into business.’
Fortunately, Roeland chose to take up the full-time opportunity, ‘but keeps his hand in with small projects and jobs.’ Mostly its repair work on leaking showers because ‘it remains a niche market and if your shower is leaking you need someone who knows what they’re doing!’
Yes… sometimes! He got a lot of satisfaction running his own business, but there are definitely pros and cons – ‘it’s hard on the body being on the tools all the time and there is a certain satisfaction passing on knowledge and helping students develop niche skill sets to take out into the world.’
Roeland’s most recent class was a group of 10, including two girls. One has ‘a full-time gig with one of the waterproofing contracts that we [Melbourne Polytechnic] have a lot of contact with – which is great! The gender breakdown in most classes I’ve taught has been 99 per cent male, but that is slowly changing.’ So get in there and even up the numbers, girls – Certificate III in Construction Waterproofing needs YOU!
‘When students get jobs, particularly with our waterproofing contractors, it gives us a certain amount of job satisfaction, and work reward, particularly when any job is hard to get these days.’
‘Waterproofing is not a mainstream trade, but that will change in the future because there are so many issues and everyone requires a waterproofing service’, domestically and commercially. Melbourne Polytechnic is certainly keeping the industry ticking over with qualified tradies. Bathrooms in all homes need to meet Australian standards for waterproofing and with time, these standards may spread to kitchens and other ‘wet’ areas.
‘During my 4 years completing the degree in education, I had multiple work placements for 6 months each. I love the interaction with students and it gives me a lot of satisfaction seeing a student improve their skillset.’
Waterproofing is not a regulated trade in the Netherlands, but rather it is ‘incorporated into the tiling courses. They might have some units dedicated to waterproofing, but not a specific course like we have in Australia.’
Roeland would like to be remembered ‘as an energetic, friendly, personal teacher. I really focus on establishing a relationship with students... we get so many emails afterwards from students thanking us for the course’ and the positive impact and direction for their lives. This has a positive impact and improves his own direction for teaching.
‘We really try hard to establish that personal connection’, often through end of terms bbqs and out of class, team building and catch ups ‘instead of just going through the motions, ticking them off and sending them out of the door’.
‘Our industry connections are great and when we go on site we bump into so many old students, it’s really satisfying’.
‘If I am remembered for my approach and dedication I would be more than satisfied.’
Most of Roeland’s classes run between 3:30pm and 9:00pm - to attract early morning tradies, who can put in the hard yards ‘after hours’. It’s all about the students for Melbourne Polytechnic’s friendly approachable fabulous teaching staff!
One of the many great things about Melbourne Polytechnic is that our teaching staff is as multicultural and diverse as our student cohort. Roeland is originally from the Netherlands and has lived in and called Australia home for around 12 years.