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Teaching is what makes Tasvir tick

TAFE Queensland engineering teacher Tasvir Singh has been recognised by group training organisation East Coast Apprenticeships for his work helping aspiring engineers kick start their careers in the industry.

Tasvir Singh was awarded with a certificate for teaching excellence from group training organisation East Coast Apprenticeships after supporting their first group of Queensland Government Pre-Apprenticeship Support Program participants to complete a Certificate I in Engineering (MEM10105) in Maryborough.

Launched in October 2021, the $25 million program sees participants complete 10 weeks of classroom learning in selected prevocational courses, followed by a three-week placement with an employer, with the ultimate goal to secure an apprenticeship using their new skills.

Tasvir said that while he hadn’t expected the certificate, he was honoured to receive the acknowledgement.

“I’ve been teaching for a few years now and it’s always a great feeling to receive recognition for the work we do,” Tasvir said.

Tasvir’s career in engineering has spanned over 25 years, beginning overseas in the 90s.

“As a child, I used to watch people perform maintenance and repairs on farm machines, and I was always fascinated with the hot works like thermal cutting and welding. I thought that was the coolest thing to do with all the sparks and metals being cut with flame,” Tasvir said.

“Then when I was working as tradesmen, I was tasked with looking after apprentices coming through in my workplace. I really enjoyed explaining things and showing them how to do it, and a few times I had people say to me, ‘You should think about teaching’. So that’s what I did.”

Tasvir completed his tertiary teacher diploma at Fiji National University and had converted his Fijian qualifications to Australian standard through the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) when a teaching role became available at the APTC campus in Samoa. Jumping at the chance to teach Australian education, Tasvir completed his training and assessment qualification and taught at the campus from 2014 until he moved to Queensland in 2016.

After making the move to Australia, Tasvir took on a role with TAFE Queensland, delivering training within Queensland Corrective Services’ prisons like Woodford and Palen Creek for three years. Then in late 2019, Tasvir was approached to teach the Certificate I to Certificate III in Engineering (MEM30219) — a role primarily based at the Nambour campus but that requires him to deliver to TAFE at School and pre-apprenticeship students at the Maryborough Trade Training Centre.

“For me the most rewarding part of teaching is the satisfaction of seeing when students are able take the skills sets that they have gained during the course of study with me and apply them to build or create a project that demonstrates competency beyond the required level,” Tasvir said.

“I’ve been doing this [teaching] a while and I have seen students go on to become supervisors and start their own businesses, which is very satisfying.”

But Tasvir’s commitment to the community isn’t limited to education and training. Tasvir has served as a member of the Caboolture State Emergency Services (SES) for nearly three years, recently helping Queenslanders who needed rescuing or help protecting their homes during the South East Queensland floods.

“I saw the devastation when we had the fires a few years ago, and I wanted to help, so I signed up and have been involved ever since. Whenever disasters pop up, I volunteer to do what I can to help with it when I’m available,” Tasvir said.

Tasvir’s participation in the SES recently influenced one of his students to do what he could to help too. A 16-year-old Pre-Apprenticeship Support Program participant in Maryborough used his design and build assessment to create a metal device that would assist the SES by speeding up the valuable time it takes to fill sandbags.

“There was a flood in Maryborough in January, so when we came to the design and build part of the course, Bryce decided he wanted to help,” Tasvir said.

“We got the specs off the internet and he made it with my help, but by the time we’d finished, the water had receded and so he let me donate it to Caboolture SES, which ended up coming in very handy during the recent flood.”

The student’s handiwork saw the teenager receive a certificate of appreciation from the Caboolture SES, with Tasvir saying the device saved valuable time in a situation where time was of the essence. He now hopes to combine his work with TAFE Queensland and the SES, with his student’s contribution providing inspiration.

“This is the first device of its kind for my branch of SES, and it certainly made it quicker and easier to fill the bags,” Tasvir said.

“We could definitely use more of them, so in future if we have the opportunity for students to make them as part of their course, we will.”