Tradies to become teachers with JCU

Tradies are set to swap their toolboxes for lunchboxes as James Cook University launches a new course aimed at passing on their skills in the classroom.

JCU’s new Bachelor of Education (Secondary) Industry Entry pathway will give tradespeople and chefs with necessary industry experience the opportunity to receive credit towards a specialisation in either Industrial Technologies and Design (ITD) or Food Technologies and Design (FTD).

JCU Senior Lecturer Dr Kelsey Lowrie said the two new courses arose out of a high demand for ITD and FTD teachers in regional schools.

“It’s a course structure that acknowledges the expertise of those in the hospitality and construction industries by giving them credit for their experience in their trade qualifications and then prepares them to work as teachers in schools,” Dr Lowrie said.

“It’s been a process of consulting with schools and school systems to determine what they want. Vocational Education and Training is a growing area in schools so bringing that industry experience in is so important.”

Students looking to specialise in ITD must be trade qualified (apprenticeship and Trade Certificate III) in fitting and turning/machining, metals engineering, carpentry, joinery, or related areas with at least three years of experience post-training.

Those wanting to go down the FTD path must have full chef qualifications (apprenticeship and Trade Certificate III in Commercial Cookery) or equivalent and at least three years of experience post-training.

Depending on their experience and qualifications, a student could be eligible to receive up to 24 credit points, the equivalent of one year of full-time study, towards their degree in ITD or FTD.

“It’s still a four-year course in terms of the preparation students do to become a teacher, such as placements, but the study load is really only 75 per cent because they can knock 24 credit points off the course,” Dr Lowrie said.

“It means it’s really manageable for them in terms of family and work commitments and that’s what some of the students who are moving over to the course are telling me.”

The pathway will also incorporate credit for a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, giving graduates the ability to teach their curriculum specialisation and vocational qualifications from day one at their new school.

Current Bachelor of Education student and tradesman Martin Paulger said the familiarity with the ITD course is what convinced him to transfer to the course next year.

“When it was offered to me, I jumped at the chance,” he said.

“It’s an area which isn’t totally new to me as I’m a carpenter by trade. Just being able to do a course that’s more hands-on is something I’m more comfortable with because it’s what I’ve been doing for an income for years now.”

Mr Paulger currently works as a Design and Technology teacher aide at Townsville Grammar and hopes to become a full-time teacher in the subject upon graduating.

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