Logistics expert David Graham has been shortlisted for the 2015 Victorian VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year Award.
Graham worked for Patrick Logistics for several years before becoming a full-time industry trainer at RMIT’s School of Vocational Business Education.
“I started out as a sessional teacher while working, and visited China several times; a lot of the products that my company was bringing in were being manufactured there, so it was great to get insights into those products’ workflow,” he said.
His transition from industry to academia was quite a logical step.
“I was already spending much of my time training and mentoring people on safety in the workplace.”
Graham is now responsible for RMIT’s online Diploma of Logistics - the only VET program offered by Open Universities Australia.
His students hail from across Australia, with online students in Singapore and Papua New Guinea.
“Our Singapore student works for a mining company as their Supply Manager - but hasn’t studied at a tertiary level before.
“That’s typical for the industry - people tend to work their way up with sheer tenacity and results.
“Giving them a chance to undertake study that fits in with their work allows them to get some formal qualifications.”
Running a student-centred program has been one of the keys to the Diploma’s success.
“We’ve got students in various environments and time zones - some are working at RAAF bases, on gas fields, navy vessels, oil supply ships, and mining; our curriculum delivery and grading has to factor in these unique situations.”
Students in the Diploma are typically mature-age, full-time workers already in the logistics industry, though many tend to be overly optimistic about their availability of time to study:
“We work with them in the early stages of the program to make sure they’ll be able to fit their studies in with their family and other personal commitments, and that might mean advising them to go part-time; it’s all about figuring out what’s sustainable for them.”
One of Graham’s particularly stand-out students has been Toll Group Prize winner Krisztina Voros.
“Krisztina was one of our first students. Her dream was to work in logistics, and she was a tremendously invigorating presence in the program.
“She completed her studies in a year with very good grades throughout the entire Diploma. Now Krisztina is working on her own online company.”
Being shortlisted for the award has been a terrific vindication for the program - and all those who help support it.
“I was over the moon being put forward by RMIT. I felt tremendously proud that I was selected out of all the teachers and trainers of the University.
“When they then told me that I was on the short list for the awards, I was really blown away - being recognized in this way is a great achievement for all of those supporting me.
“There have been a lot of people in the university that have helped me to this moment.”
Graham Airey, Acting Head of the School of Vocational Business Education, said his colleagues were extremely proud of the nomination.
“It is great to see David receive some recognition for his efforts, which have been a culmination over the last three to four years," he said.
“The Diploma of Logistics is well ahead of its time and meets a unique segment of the market that is demanding more flexible education in this industry sector.
“He richly deserves any accolades that come from this nomination and the School wishes him the best of luck on the night."
The winner of the award will be announced on 28 August as part of National Skills Week.