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Fellowship Award for Local Teacher

26 Mar 2013

As a 16-year-old boy living in Alice Springs, Sean Colson had no idea there was a trade in locksmithing. He flirted with other trades such as commercial cookery and then as a trainee manager at Coles, but abandoned his employment as the jobs weren't what he was looking for.

Two years later, he embarked on an apprenticeship in locksmithing after learning about the trade, thinking there wouldn't be much to cutting keys.

Now, after 13 years in the trade and five years as a teacher in the trade at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE's (NMIT) Heidelberg campus, Sean has just been awarded a TAFE Development Centre $12,000 Fellowship to study the Graduate Diploma in Vocational Education and Training at La Trobe University.

Designed to enhance professional development as a teacher, the Fellowship offers Sean, 36, of Heidelberg, opportunities to expand his repertoire in the classroom as well as develop leadership skills and knowledge.

'Falling out of school early like most trades people do, I haven't had the academic training like young people these days and to have the opportunity to attend university and study and learn again, is really exciting,' Sean said.

'I finished Year 10 in Alice Springs with the ambition to get an apprenticeship and work in a trade. After starting in locksmithing, I realised there was a lot more to it than just cutting keys and I learned so much and am still learning.

'I did the formal part of my training at NMIT, travelling down from Alice Springs four times a year for two weeks at a time. After years in the industry, I wanted to teach and when an opportunity came up to join NMIT's staff, I jumped at it.'

During his employment at NMIT, Sean completed Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and is looking forward to the challenges of further academic study at university.

His new study program involves 60 hours of supervised teaching practice and subjects such as methods of teaching adults and curriculum development.

'The program is designed to provide a deeper understanding of how and why different methods of teaching are used. It focuses on how learners learn and absorb information which will equip me to better deliver that information,' Sean said.

'It also involves considerable research and analysis and there is a lot of reading which will train me in a different way of thinking about teaching.'

Sean said one of the highlights of his study was the interaction with other students in the class who as teachers, could share their experience and knowledge.

'I'm learning so much by interacting with these students and being exposed to different theories and methods of teaching. It's been fantastic and a big boost to my confidence.'

Sean added that he now hopes to continue studying by undertaking his Masters of Education in the future.

'I feel really excited by being in the classroom and studying at university is just something I didn't think I'd ever do. It's a great opportunity and I never thought I'd be where I am.'

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on 03 9269 1579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) – Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne’s north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce.  NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.