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Sparking careers for the next generation

Luke Pickering is new to the teaching profession, but not the industry, and is already supercharging career opportunities for South Burnett’s senior school students and apprentices alike.

The TAFE Queensland Electrotechnology Teacher is based at the Kingaroy campus, and came into the role following many years of experience in his trade — keen to inspire and educate the next generation through training.

“When I finished high school my now-father-in-law arranged an opportunity for me to start as a trade assistant with his neighbour, at an industrial company that was making concrete products,” said Luke.

“After a few months of putting my best efforts in, some people went in to bat for me and encouraged the company to start me as an apprentice, which they did. This was a thing I did not take lightly.”

After completing his apprenticeship, Luke gained a variety of experience working in both domestic and commercial settings and also gained his contractor’s licence for in-demand roles in the energy industry.

“Now teaching at TAFE Queensland is my focus, while remaining within the electrotechnology industry,” shared Luke.

And with renewable energy targets and new technology powering up job opportunities, the National Skills Commission has predicted strong growth in energy sector employment, with more than 157,000 electrician roles required in 2026. 

“It’s great to support the industry, to find ways to keep people in their apprenticeships, and to upskill people already in the trade so they can endeavour in new revenue paths for their businesses.”

Together with teaching apprentices, Luke mentors high school students who are interested in powering-up a future in the industry through the TAFE at School program.   

“I also teach Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start) (UEE22020) to school students,” Luke began.

“Those who aren’t as strong with the theory, are often extremely good on the tools, and I really enjoy encouraging these students as the industry needs more people exactly like them — workers who are great on the tools and are willing to do the work, rather than those who are great on the theory but not willing to get their hands dirty.” 

Luke is also committed to remaining ‘industry current’ and often undertakes electrotechnology contract work.

“My contractor’s licence sees me able to assist friends, or take on jobs here and there if needed, which keeps me industry current. I consider myself very fortunate to be in this vocation, electrical, as I'm now able to be on the other side — teaching.”

Luke also has some helpful advice for future ‘bright sparks’ considering a career in electrotechnology.

“I encourage them to get involved in the trade through work experience. This will open the door to a conversation with an employer in the industry and they can also better understand where they may fit,” Luke advised. 

“This coupled with a Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start) (UEE22020), is a solid introductory qualification and is a great start. It looks great on your resume, and shows that you have skin in the game so that an employer is more likely to hire them as an apprentice,” he added.