Former electrician Alec Bulley has encouraged other tradies to give their careers – and futures – a signal boost by taking on a teaching degree.
The Townsville man is currently studying a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) at CQUniversity' after more than 10 years as an electrical/refrigeration mechanic with the Army.
"I decided to transition out of trade because I wanted the lifestyle change'" Alec said.
"The demands' physical burnout and general day-to-day was not healthy for me. My partner and I were also looking to start settling down."
Alec said he accessed Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to obtain credits towards a degree at CQU.
"The RPL process was relatively painless and quick to do and CQU were very efficient with processing it'" he said.
Before he took up his trade' Alec had completed two years of a different degree' but realised he wasn't ready to take on university' but now' years later' he has welcomed the challenge because he's determined to change his path.
"It was a bit of a challenge to get up to speed with the writing of essays and referencing so it can be daunting' but I wanted the change enough and just continued to work on it as I progressed through and CQU again do offer support in this area'" he said.
He said he saw the teaching route as an opportunity to provide future tradespeople with guidance.
"I didn't have trade-related subjects at school – I did all my schooling in South Africa – I was forced to follow a "scholarly path" you might say' and it contributed to my immaturity I think when it came to my first attempt at Uni.
"Now' I just want to give students who are more inclined to work with their hands an opportunity at a worthwhile career in a trade or engineering role."
Tradies like Alec are being given the opportunity to become teachers thanks to a new Queensland Government initiative – the Trade to Teach Internship Program.
Announced by Education Minister Grace Grace' the Trade to Teach Internship Program pilot will place 30 new Industrial Technology and Design (ITD) teachers in Queensland state school classrooms over the next four years.
Queensland state schools need teachers who bring specialist knowledge and industry experience to the classroom' particularly in the area of Industrial Technology and Design (ITD).
For people who have a trade qualification' and are considering making a career move into teaching' the Trade to Teach Internship Program pilot provides financial support while they undertake a 3-4 year undergraduate teaching degree (specialising in ITD) through the program's partner universities - CQUniversity (CQU) or University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ).
Successful tradies will commence their study in 2023' their internship from 2024 and will start as a permanent ITD teacher no later than 2027.
The pilot also provides a paid internship to which provides classroom experience' a dedicated ITD mentor and a permanent teaching position in a Queensland state school upon completion of your studies.
Applicants may be able to reduce the duration of the undergraduate degree from four years through recognition of prior learning (RPL) based on their trade qualifications and relevant industry experience.
The selection of applicants will be based on those who specialise in and are available to teach Industrial Technology and Design (ITD) subjects' including Engineering Skills' Furnishing' Building and Construction' Industrial Graphics' Industrial Technology Skills' and other materials and technologies specialisations.
Alec encouraged any tradesperson to consider pursuing teaching studies.
"If you feel like you want a more fulfilling role and you want to make a difference in the world then I think teaching is the best path to follow. There's also the possibility to go into other teaching areas as well."