Training tomorrow’s heroes and innovatorsJohn Blois
Mr Matthew Corbett is one of the more recent additions to Trinity’s Technological and Applied Studies (TAS) Department. After 25 years in Sales for Electrical and Electronics, his switch to teaching was borne of a passion that he discovered through a shift in his career and his adventures as an State Emergency Services (SES) volunteer.
As a salesperson, Mr Corbett was able to travel the world getting involved in interesting projects and meeting even more interesting people. Hailing from the UK originally, he moved to Australia in 2006 – ready to dive into the local community, he joined the SES.
“It was the whole concept of doing something that gets you out of the house, engaging with the community, and forming a life in Australia. I really saw it as a way to engage in the local community, building up friendships and relationships. There are people I’ve known now for over a decade through the SES.”
Mr Corbett became a Skills Trainer, teaching others in the SES everything from operating chainsaws to putting up a tarp correctly or climbing on roofs safely. He found that he enjoyed watching people come through the unit, growing their skills, and growing as individuals.
“It’s wonderful to see these people become skilled operators in themselves, gaining the confidence to do these things and to do them safely.”
As he grew in his confidence as a trainer – he also was beginning to reconsider his career as a Salesperson. His background knowledge and Engineering degree had helped him to excel in Sales, but things were different in Australia, leaning more heavily on distribution which didn’t hold the aspects of the job he loved the most – selling and solving problems.
Considering his options, Mr Corbett decided to pursue a career in teaching. He completed his Masters of Teaching (Secondary – STEM) and his new career has led him to Trinity, drawn by the combination of a school with a rich history and firm traditions, a comprehensive Professional Development programme, and a strong culture that he knew fit with his values.
“I like to think I have some of those characteristics that make ‘a good man’ – the kind of men that we are committed to growing at Trinity,” he says. “You can sense the passion and love in the industry here at Trinity. When you talk to people around the School, they love the place – it’s always reassuring.”
His Masters degree was cross-discipline, allowing him to stay engaged with all the things he’s loved from his professional life so far.
“It makes it interesting for me,” he says. “I can talk about all the things I’ve done and I can teach about why all this will be useful for the students, no matter what career path they’re going to follow. We get to be much more hands-on in the TAS Department – the students get to create and form lasting memories of things they make.
“There’s great innovation in Australia – it will be the job of the next generation to take it to the world, but if they don’t know what they’re capable of, then they don’t know what problems there are to solve.”
Safety is one of Mr Corbett’s passions. It’s easy to not understand the importance of safety practices when you’re sitting in the classroom, but his experience through his own career and his time with the SES has shown him that staying safe is at the core of everything.
“We all have the right to go home at the end of the day.”
Mr Corbett continues to be a part of the SES and the recent weeks full of wild weather and flooding has presented a challenge but it’s a challenge that he finds deeply fulfilling as he helps people who are disadvantaged or find themselves in trouble.
“A lot of people want to give back but they’re unsure how to do that. SES has something for everyone – you don’t have to be a practical person. You can be involved in operations, driving a truck around, maintenance, emergency response – and more!
“There’s enormous respect for the SES from the general public. It’s very satisfying to get that recognition – it’s not the only reason to do it, but it does make you feel good to know that you are giving back and your efforts are appreciated.”