Career clarity at TrinityJohn Blois
Mr Nick van Breda is a familiar face around Trinity, having been at the School since 2008, but he’s no stranger to shaking things up, something he’s carried all the way through his career.
After finishing high school, Nick knew he wanted to dive into the creative world, but he wasn’t sure which area might suit him best. While he found his feet, he worked as a Room Service Attendant in a five-star hotel and then worked in a local pub to support his studies at TAFE as he undertook a Architectural Drafting course. Ultimately, he decided that this wasn’t the pathway for him but, three years after leaving school, he enrolled in a Bachelor of Creative Arts – Graphic Design and New Media at the University of Wollongong. It was here that he knew he’d struck gold.
With the Bachelor’s degree under his belt, he spent a few years working in the industry before studying a Master of Design at UTS. After completing this portion of his studies, he continued working in the private sector and then, while working for a charity organisation, he was made aware of a job opportunity at Trinity Grammar School in the ‘Publications Department’ (changed to the Marketing and Communications Department in 2019).
“MarComms is a great team of creative, like minded people who love delivering quality work and meeting challenges,” Nick says. “One of the advantages of being in-house is that we get to see our work being used by staff and students and the impacts of our designs – this makes the work we do even more rewarding.”
It’s also something that Nick notes he will miss as he takes a new trajectory in his career.
“I’ll miss being a part of this and, in the last couple of years in particular, the scope of work has increased, likewise, the variety and the team has doubled in size to accommodate projects. Leaving now, as I’ve mentioned to our lead, Phil, on several occasions, has been made more difficult!”
Six years ago, Nick realised he was ready for new challenges, ready to try something different. Working at Trinity gave him the opportunity to explore the idea of teaching – something that hadn’t been on his radar before.
“It seemed like a logical avenue to at least investigate,” he says. “I started observing the teachers at Trinity a lot more closely and saw how passionate they were about the students, their achievements and helping them grow in their knowledge and experience opportunities.
“As someone who loves learning new things, it didn’t take me long to realise this was something I wanted to be a part of. After my first teaching placement, I was all in.”
Enrolling in a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) at Charles Sturt University in 2017, Nick was on track to complete his studies in 2020, but COVID-19 put his final placement on hold for a year and a half. Despite things taking a little longer than originally planned, he’s grateful for the support he received throughout the process.
“Trinity has been very supportive throughout the entire process of my career change. I was fortunate enough to have received a study grant from the School, which has helped in covering some of the costs of the degree. In training to become a teacher, I have been required to take a significant amount of time off work for my professional placements and I have appreciated how accommodating the School has been.”
Nick also names Mr Tom Mae, former Head Master Mr Cujes, current Head Master Mr Bowden, and his wife, Diana, as people who have provided particular support to him throughout this transitional period, support that he says is invaluable throughout the tricky task of studying alongside full-time work and family commitments.
“It was at times overwhelming and had its challenges,” he says. “There have been many times I’ve been tempted to throw in the towel.”
2022 saw Nick finally step into his new role as a Technical and Applied Studies (TAS) teacher and he feels even more confident that he’s made the right decision.
“Teaching, for me, is the most challenging but rewarding career I have ever had. It has been a steep learning curve and the additional work required has been demanding but I am loving it immensely and I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to make this change.
“Every day is different and has its own set of unique challenges but mixed in with that, there are moments in the classroom that are just beautiful. Being there at the moment when a student understands a new concept or produces a project they are proud of, brings a lot of joy and excitement.”
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