Plumbing teacher Wayne Ellerton has won a prestigious Wurreker Award in recognition of his contribution to Indigenous education.
Decade of success for Indigenous plumbing programThe annual Wurreker Awards celebrate the success of the Koori community in Vocational Education and Training.
Presented by the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI), in partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), the awards acknowledge individuals who have achieved outstanding results in their chosen areas of knowledge and expertise.
The Ngarara Willim Centre's Kevin Moore, who nominated Mr Ellerton, said the awards celebrated partnerships that improved outcomes for Koories in their training and employment pathways.
He said Mr Ellerton engaged with students in a number of ways.
"His patience with the students helps them to understand the workings of plumbing and in most cases gets the students through to the end of the course," he said.
"The Indigenous plumbing program has been backed by the plumbing union (PTEU), which also has an Indigenous mentor for the apprentices and helps them get work with employers.
"The aim for both the school and students is to give back to communities.
"Through the Ngarara Willim Centre, the plumbers have installed new toilets at the Fitzroy Stars
Club and will be doing more work in the future for the community."
The success of Mr Ellerton's students has resulted in invitations from industry across the country to talk about further onsite training.
Mr Ellerton said the latest was from Katherine in the Northern Territory, which he hoped would lead to the offering of a Certificate II in Plumbing for the area.
He also receives invitations from his students to travel to their home towns, some as far away as the Tiwi Islands, to see what they've achieved since graduation.