New career for tradies

New career for tradies

17 Dec 2009

La Trobe University is responding to the growing number of trade people entering the classroom as teachers by increasing the number of places available to those who want to change their career path.

Tradie teachersAfter twenty years working as a fitter and turner, Russell Bradshaw didn’t expect that one day he would be teaching a class of secondary students the secrets of his trade.

Russell’s new life as a teacher allows him to use his experience and skill to inspire and help students consider life as a ‘tradie‘ and the upshot of his new career is he can now spend more time with his young family.

 Russell’s story is just one that reflects a growing trend of trades’ people or ‘tradies’ who are hanging up their tools and swapping them for a white board marker and a class room.

‘Going to university to get do the teacher-training was daunting at first,’ says Russell, ‘But I had plenty of teacher support, and the weekend classes made all the difference so I could keep working during the week.’

Tradesmen like Russell are now teaching some of the 18,000 students who are taking part in a Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, or VCAL subject.

VCAL, an equivalent stream to the VCE, offers practical classes for students who wish to complete high school but rather than go to university, want to learn a trade when they finish.

Bruce Pridham, technology coordinator at La Trobe Bendigo, said the Faculty of Education has increased the number of places available for people like Russell who want to take up teaching training in technology education in 2010.

Mr Pridham says now is the time to get on board and make enquiries for next year.

The 18 months course with weekend classes available is designed to increase the literacy, numeracy and teaching skills of the trainees.

However, it is the years of accumulated experience that trades professionals have that is highly sought after in the class room.

‘High schools really look favourably at the life-skills and knowledge that trades people are bringing to education. Many trades’ people who have made the change are really enjoying the opportunity they have to pass on practical skills and knowledge to the next generation of trades people.’

For more information on the Faculty of Education and courses visit: or phone 03 5444 7907.


What?    Russell Bradshaw will run his last classroom sessions for the semester. If you would like to attend, please call Zerin Knight to advise which of the times below suits you.

When?        Friday 11 December 2009, 9 am – 10.30 am and 1.45 pm – 3.20 pm

Where?         Bendigo South East College, Flora Hill (please go to reception).
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Bruce Pridham, Ph 03 5444 7262

Russell Bradshaw, Ph 03 5443 4522


Zerin Knight, Ph 03 5444 7375 F +613 5444 7526 M 0428 463 161




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