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Leading WA Trade Trainer Wins National Award

Leading WA Trade Trainer Wins National Award

Congratulations Matthew King!

Through its annual NECA Trade Teacher Award, NECA recognises the outstanding contribution made by trade teachers and their work to continuously raise the standard of education and training in the electrotechnology industry.

With a professional and experienced team of instructors employed at its two CET campuses, CET is no stranger to winning the Trade Teacher Awards, with many of its instructors bringing the award home for WA over the past few years.  CET also has an extensive network of collaborative arrangements with schools and in 2018, it chose to nominate Trade Trainer Matthew King, who works with CET’s collaborative partner, the Swan Trade Training Centre (STTC).   

Matthew’s outstanding teaching and dedication to his students made him a worthy nominee and we are pleased to congratulate him on his success with winning the 2018 award.

Setting the benchmark

Matthew has worked at the STTC since its inception in 2012.  The centre is a unique training facility located within Swan Christian College, a private education facility that teaches students from kindy through to year 12.  Auspiced through CET, it is the only school-based pre-apprenticeship electrical course that is run by in-house staff in Western Australia.

In addition to delivering training to students, Matthew has been responsible for designing and setting up the training facility, establishing and implementing the program and ensuring its continuous development and enhancement. Matthew is also the Pastoral Care Coordinator for the Swan Trade Training Centre and the Vocational Educational Training Coordinator for Swan Christian College.

Matthew brings a strong mix of skills to his role.  A qualified electrician, Matthew completed his apprenticeship at NRP Electrical as a mature age apprentice and did his off-the-job training at CET’s former Balcatta campus.  Prior to that Matthew worked in youth work, a background that has him well placed to work with school-based students.

“I have always had a passion for working with teenagers. I was lucky to have some very strong relationships with my trainers, which continues today,” Matthew explained.  “I saw how these relationships had a positive impact on the students and that through great teaching you can shape the next generation of tradespeople. I love the trade and I realised I wanted to teach and develop the next generation of tradespeople.”

Keen to stay up to date with current industry knowledge, Matthew also runs his own contracting business in his holidays and on weekends. “While this keeps me busy it helps me to stay relevant in the industry and if you want to teach you need to still be doing the trade.”

Having worked with Matthew for many years, CET’s Steve Hall noted that, “Matthew’s dedication to training electrical apprentices sets a benchmark all industry should emulate.”

The challenges and the highlights

Matthew has gained great satisfaction from his role, especially in overcoming the challenges of getting the STTC established and seeing his students graduate.   

“One of my biggest challenges was changing the view that an electrical pre-apprenticeship can’t be run in a school by in-house staff.  By delivering an extremely high standard of training and partnering with CET we have challenged this view and demonstrated that it’s possible and highly successful. Finding work experience placements is an ongoing challenge but we’ve been very lucky to have a dedicated group of companies who will take our students on a regular basis.”

Matthew’s hard work has definitely paid off, with the centre delivering valuable outcomes for its students. Matthew has close to a 100% conversion rate for his students gaining apprenticeships, a clear indication of the high regard industry has for the work he puts in with his students.   

For students to have the best chance of success in gaining an electrical career, Matthew suggests they do some work experience in the trade if they can and complete a pre-apprenticeship to give them the best chance of gaining an apprenticeship. With this path in mind, each year Matthew enjoys watching his students move from their pre-apprenticeships to apprenticeships and then on to professional tradespeople.

“A major career highlight for me was in 2017 when my first group of students, who started in 2012, started to complete their apprenticeships and become tradespeople,” said Matthew.

Matthew is also known for his humanitarian approach, encouraging his students to give back to those who are less fortunate.  

“Our annual overseas mission trip provides a chance for our students get to use their trade skills to help others. These are always a great time to develop stronger connections with the students and to see them develop. The experience hones their electrical skills, team work skills, their work ethic and the experience of working to a deadline.”

Celebrating Successes

Above: Matthew King winning the 2018 Trade Teacher of the Year award at the NECA Excellence & Apprentice Awards in November 2018.

The Trade Teacher Awards provide a valuable chance to acknowledge the effort trade teachers to go to support their students.  Matthew valued the opportunity to be part of the 2018 NECA Trade Teacher Award process, which included a written application and interview and culminated with the awards night presentation last November.  

“The awards night was a great experience and it was great to share that experience with my wife, but the best part was being in the kitchen with the family when I received the email telling me I had won,” Matthew said.  “There was quite a bit of excitement that morning.”

Matthew has shown himself to be a leader in his field and strongly encourages others to consider becoming an instructor.   “If anyone’s thinking of taking up trade training, I say do it. It’s been the best move I’ve ever made.”

Matthew has certainly been an inspiration to his students and to his colleagues, who all value the experience of working with him.  We congratulate Matthew again on his achievement and wish him all the best for the future.

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