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TAFE NSW Miller Plumbing Teacher Uses Spare Time To Work With Youth At Risk

TAFE NSW Miller Plumbing teacher Josh Grant started teaching plumbing full time this year, and when he is not teaching the next generation of plumbers, he mentors youth at risk with Mountain Youth Services Team.

Upon finishing high school, Josh completed a plumbing apprenticeship and worked in the industry for six years before deciding to pursue other interests in land management and conservation.

“I was working in the family business which gave me the flexibility to study and take on another job in land management doing bush regeneration and vegetation. This meant I could do the Bachelor of Biodiversity and Conservation part time and still do plumbing work on the weekends,” said Josh Grant.

“I started working as a commercial guide but the nature of the game was that work, and consistent work was hard to find which is why ended up falling back on my trade and working in the family business. I decided to do study Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation, which has led me to work with youth at risk.

Josh now spends his Fridays doing youth work with Mountain Youth Services Team as part of a 10-week program that takes a group of eight to 10 young people through various adventure activities such as bushwalking or canoeing. Throughout the program, Josh speaks to the students about a range of topics including domestic violence, drugs and respect towards women. It is also an opportunity for youths to discuss other aspects of their lives in an open and safe environment.

“Getting young men to talk about the hard stuff can be a challenge so it’s about trying to normalise the conversation.”

“By the end of the program the kids have become best friends, and they’re really proud of their achievements and so am I.”

At 33 years old, Josh has found that this teaching style is a little more modern, coupled with his cutting edge physical appearance and engaging with his students on their level ensures he’s a successful teacher, many of his students have said that attending class is one of their favourite days of the working week.

“I try and communicate with the students on their level, it’s the simple things like asking them what’s going on of a weekend or how their weekends were, it’s one of the best ways to try and decrease the gap between student and teacher.”

General classroom rules seldom permit students from using their smartphones during class, but Josh is disrupting the norm and is changing the way he interacts with his students.

“I get the students to use their phones as a resource, we live in a 21st century world so I set them tasks and ask them to research things such as looking up the rules of the position of a water metre on a new house. Once they have done their research, we discuss the findings as a class including how to tell if the source they found the information from is credible/reliable.

Not limiting class interaction with using smartphones to conduct research, Josh also uses web hosted quizzes, which the students use as a revision tool.

“I may be the teacher, but I also learn a lot from my students. I’m always asking them to bring in photos and talk about the different technologies they’re using on the job site.”

For Josh, teaching is a challenge that he loves, “I’m always learning new things, technologies get lost and changed over time, I enjoy the ability to learn and bounce ideas off my colleagues. TAFE NSW Miller has a great support network and there is always someone there to help”.

To find out more about plumbing at TAFE NSW visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601

Media contact: Teresa Lane, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner 9796 5476, mobile 0412 773 887