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With his teaching career spanning more than 30 years, Glenn Connell's mark on the heavy road transport and mobile plant technology industry is far-reaching.

Having worked extensively across Queensland and the Northern Territory, Glenn is well known in the off-road machinery and road transport circles.

"I love my trade. I've been in my trade a long time and I love imparting my knowledge on the students," Glenn said.

Beginning his career as a traditional chalk and board teacher, Glenn is a leader when it comes to evolving to keep students engaged.

"I’m always thinking of interesting and effective ways to get the content across. This is a highly technical field and the information can be complex, so the more ways I can think of to help it sink in, the better," Glenn said.

Aside from the traditional face-to-face and workshop-based training, Glenn has introduced several online learning tools to support students.

"One of the programs has the capability to read text to students, which makes it a fantastic resource for anyone who is vision-impaired or for apprentices who learn differently," Glenn said.

"Another online learning tool I use is similar to a game. It allows the students to compete against each other to see who gets the best marks — everyone engages really well with that."

"Students these days all use their phones a lot and I use that to my advantage. If they get stuck on a challenging word, maybe an industry term they’ve never heard before, I tell them to look it up on their phone. Everything is online now and teachers can use that to their benefit."

"It's a great feeling witnessing the penny drop, that moment when everything makes sense to the students."

Feedback from students and industry about Glenn's teaching style is extremely positive. Cassidy Waina, Fleet Maintenance Manager at Blenners Transport said Glenn was an outstanding educator.

"Glenn has been training our staff, including myself, for over 15 years. Glenn’s extensive knowledge in the heavy automotive industry and exceptional training delivery has had a major contribution to the knowledge and capabilities of Blenners Transport maintenance staff," Cassidy said.

Glenn has trained hundreds of apprentices and takes a lot of pride in knowing they're excelling in industry.

"It's always a highlight for me when students I used to teach go on to become bosses and then send their apprentices to me for training — that's really rewarding," Glenn said.

"I check in with employers regularly and it's great when they tell me they've seen a marked improvement in their apprentice as a result of their training."

Glenn said interacting with expert trainers when he was a teenager inspired him to pursue his own teaching career path.

"When I was in the trade many years ago I went to TAFE and that's when I aspired to be a teacher. I thought the trade teachers who taught me had the best job and they really knew their stuff — that was 32 years ago."

Based at the Townsville (Trade Training Centre Bohle) campus, it's never a dull day for Glenn and his apprentices, who work on machinery like dozers, boggers, diggers, graders and highway trucks. Glenn said he takes every opportunity he can to encourage more people to enter the automotive trade.

"There are so many opportunities in this industry; no matter what the economy is doing, with automotive you’ve got a job for life."

 

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