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Nuclear physicist tackles teaching

Science is all about exploring the limits of the universe. Teaching is about exploring unlimited human potential.

Andrew J Bradley PhD had a career as a physicist spanning 30 years. He has worked in classified scientific programs in both Australia and the US. Now he has a new set of challenges and rewards: he’s a TAFE NSW teacher. Andrew applies his considerable expertise to teaching maths, chemistry, laboratory skills and environmental science.

Learning to teach real skills

“I’ve spent a lot of time tutoring, demonstrating, lecturing and supervising in universities and secondary education in Australia and the US. After moving back to Australia, it was a natural move to look at teaching again,” Andrew says.

Andrew is a PhD in chemical physics, he had a triple major for his bachelors in physics, chemistry and maths . His career highlights include 14 years as technology director in a nuclear laser enrichment program at General Electric, one of the world's largest companies.

Off the record

Andrew also worked on a range of classified programs for the Australian Defence Force. So there’s only so much he can tell us, otherwise, well, you’ll know what might happen!

“The programs I have worked in for the last 20 years required US- and Australian-classified top-secret security clearances. While I published a lot during this time, my security clearances meant that none of my research papers could be externally circulated.”

Making it all click and careers happen

So is it a come-down to go from that international, high-level career to being a TAFE NSW teacher? Not at all!

“I really enjoy passing on my skills and experience,” he says. “I love seeing things just ‘click’ with students. Having a better understanding about the world and the way it works and seeing them have a lightbulb moment where everything falls into place is really gratifying."

“I’ve done a lot of private tutoring for school and university students. But this is quite different. What I like about TAFE NSW is that’s not like rote learning just to pass a set and strict exam formula."

“It’s learning that people apply in their careers. They can take it and utilise it, explore it, build on it, use it as a foundation for innovation. That makes it challenging and exciting in different ways.”

Explore the future