“Teaching has given me the opportunity to look at my trade in a fresh light by breaking down tasks to their most basic level and developing new skills which I wouldn’t have had the chance of doing if I stayed on site,” said Matt.
“I like the feeling of being on this four-year journey with each apprentice and seeing someone who is young, raw and keen develop into a mature skilled tradesperson.”
Matt recently spent two weeks in Cambodia working with students to refurbish a building for a local school in Siem Reap and also built two houses for families living on the outskirts of town.
“It was truly rewarding to lead a group of hardworking students who worked tirelessly over the two weeks to make a difference to a number of people’s lives."
"The locals were so grateful for all our work and it was a truly humbling experience to see people who had literally nothing and yet are so happy,” he said.
The father from Burleigh Heads said a career highlight was teaching the Certificate I in Construction (CPC1011) to four Gold Coast Suns AFL players.
“I think I learnt as much from them as they did from me as they gave me a real insight into the professionalism and dedication needed to be an elite sportsperson,” said Matt.
“One player in particular really enjoyed his new found skills so much that he volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Fiji, helping to build homes for the community."
“The experience really got him thinking about what he might want to do with his life after playing professional football,” he said.
According to Matt, the best thing about being a teacher is seeing students come full circle in their career.
“I had a student complete his carpentry studies two years ago and he's now running his own building company employing several people — one of which is a current student of mine."
"When you see a situation like that where they go full circle, it's great knowing that you played a part in the journey.”
Meanwhile, Matt's biggest teaching challenge is having students of all ages and walks of life.
“Having students from ages 16 to 60 presents challenges as I have to tailor my teaching style and use different techniques to try and spark that light bulb moment for my students.”
Working in the construction industry prior to teaching armed Matt with first-hand knowledge and experience to be able to support and mentor the next generation of Gold Coast trades people.
"Anyone thinking of a career in carpentry should know that each day is different — one day you could be laying deck and the next you’re hanging a door," he said.
"It’s also rewarding because you get to see a build from the start when it’s just a dirt block to the completion of a new home or building.”
When he isn’t in the classroom, rebuilding lives in Cambodia, or teaching elite sport stars you'll find Matt cycling for Australia having represented the country at two Masters World Championships for road cycling.