Vocational education champions receive Gold Medals

Nov 07, 2019

Shannon Baldock with David Coltman

TAFE SA has recognised two of its high achievers – one lecturer and one graduate – at its biennial Gold Medal presentation.

The 12th Gold Medal Awards for outstanding contribution to TAFE SA were awarded to Electrical Lecturer Shannon Baldock and Chef Kate Jansen, who is the current SA Apprentice of the Year.

The TAFE SA Gold Medals were instigated by the late Mr Lyall Fricker AM, when he retired as Director-General of the Department of Technical and Further Education, as a way of recognising those who have contributed to the organisation in an outstanding manner, and therefore to the wider community.

Both Shannon and Kate are champions of TAFE SA and great advocates for vocational education.

Shannon describes himself as a “product of TAFE” having done a traineeship in electronics and an electrical apprenticeship over the course of his career, which has included running his own electrical business.

Since returning to TAFE as a lecturer, he has been a leader in virtual reality technology, researching and developing ways to incorporate it into classrooms, and says the gold medal is a good reminder to him of the importance of that work.

“I feel like it validates the work I’m doing with the VR project, that it’s not just a fad but has real educational credentials,” he says.

Shannon’s interest in virtual reality was sparked when he could see the potential to engage students who were losing interest in traditional teaching methods.

“You need people to adopt the technology and show how it works in an education context – not just use it for the sake of it – and that’s why the Mining, Engineering, Transport, Building and Construction (METBAC) team has embraced the project,” he says.

“What I like about TAFE SA is the number of passionate people here – our capability and capacity is enormous.”

Shannon says the best part about teaching is the time he spends one-on-one with students, particularly those who have learning difficulties.

“I like helping students work out how they best learn and once they get that, it’s so rewarding to work with them,” he says.

Kate Jansen finished her apprenticeship on January 27, and such are her skills and leadership that she was appointed head chef at Windy Point Café the following day.

kate-jansenKate, who completed the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery – Cook at Regency Campus, is full of praise for her lecturers and recalls her training as an incredibly positive experience.

“TAFE has been good for me, the hands-on learning suits me and I liked the fact that my lecturers all worked in the industry,” she says.

“I learnt the importance of getting the basics right and it’s something that I’m imparting to my apprentices.”

Being a chef is a rewarding career, says Kate, who loves to see customers enjoying the food she’s cooked for them.

“We work 10 and 11-hour days but we’re always learning something new, it’s great to have a job like that,” she says.

It’s been a big year for Kate who was also named SA’s Apprentice of the Year in September.

“It means I’m an ambassador for TAFE and it gives me the opportunity to be a positive voice for vocational education,” she says.

The TAFE SA Gold Medals were presented by Dr Denise de Vries, daughter of Mr Lyall Fricker, at the Adelaide Campus on November 1.