Melbourne Polytechnic's Security Technology Program Coordinator, Max Cherry may have been around for a while, but it doesn’t stop him coming up with new ideas.
Teaches: Locksmithing and Security Technology courses
Together with colleague Ray Ng, the 55-year-old invented and developed the RAYMAX lock system, which featured on ABC television show, New Inventors last year. The innovative system connects finger print scanning technology with existing mechanical locking systems, making it possible to open locks with the swipe of a finger. Max says the idea took a couple of years and several trips to China to develop and there are plans underway to market the product more widely.
A teacher for more than 40 years, Max is always running into former students who work in the industry. “It’s my proudest achievement that everyone who works with me was once my student,” he says. “It’s nice to know the students I had starting off are now leaders in the industry.”
After 24 years with us, Max’s favourite part of the job is still teaching. “I like the interaction with young people. It keeps you in tune with what’s going on. It’s entertaining here and it’s nice to see people develop.”
Max, who’s been a locksmith since completing his apprenticeship at 16, says the skills shortage in locksmithing has meant companies often contact NMIT looking for apprentices. He’s also well-known to industry players, having taught most of them as apprentices. “We’re often a first port of call. We’re able to find someone employment if they need it.”
One of the main changes Max has observed over the years is a decrease in the level of skills for detailed and intricate repair work. “A lot of the products you used to have to repair are not worth it now. It’s cheaper to buy them, there’s a lot of throwaway.” But he says NMIT is doing its bit to keep these skills alive. “Our program reflects what industry wants and they want that high level of skill with hand work.”
He says locksmith apprentices need to be all-rounders to have a successful career “It’s a very diverse trade. You have to be a bit of a carpenter, an engineer and you have to know about computers and electronics. They also have to be brilliant with people because they’re dealing with the community.”