Working on tanks, rifles, planes, bridges and special projects, Paul Copson has had a varied career in the military. But when an injury put him on medical discharge he decided it was time to make a change. Now he's skilling the next generation of manufacturing industry professionals.
“I wanted to do something that I could transfer my skills and give back to the industry that gave me so many opportunities, so I decided to teach,” Paul said.
“I just love passing the knowledge on. The best thing about my job is seeing students become qualified, go on to further their skills through advanced training and start their own companies – witnessing their growth personally and professionally is very rewarding,” he said.
Paul's approach to teaching has always been very hands-on, doing the theory at the same time as the practical work.
"Teaching the basic skills and getting the message across of how things work is key, but then I also like doing and teaching advanced and one-off things that not everyone knows how to do in industry these days," he said.
But Paul is also excitied about what the industry is doing and where the skills and knowledge will be needed in the future.
"The greatest thing about the future of augmented welding is that a lot of big companies are using it as a training tool before employees get down on the floor, but they're also using it for people struggling to do specific weld or fabrication positions," said Paul.
"We can take these apprentices and employees into a lab to practise, and then we they go back out into the workshop they often have the ability to do the job straight away," he said
"It's a bit like game footage for athletes; we can go back and see what and how they've welded, pull it apart, and focus on specific aspects. It also helps speed up training time and uses less materials so we're minimising waste."
For Paul that also means he's ensuring his apprentices are training to higher standards, developing better skills, becoming more industry ready, and are able to better enhance their careers.