Getting into the Great Outdoors

Nate Welch

It was fantastic to see our teacher – Nate Welch featured in The Mercury Newspaper on Saturday 15th October:

TasTAFE Outdoor Recreation program co-ordinator Nate Welch has blossomed in the state he only planned on living in long enough to become a qualified tour guide.

Mr Welch was named VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year at the Tasmanian Training Awards, which were held in September, five years after moving to Tasmania as a TasTAFE student.

Originally from Queensland, he had experience interstate and overseas as a tour guide but came to Tasmania in 2011, seeking formal qualifications.

Within a year of starting as a student at TasTAFE, the journeyman had taken up a teaching role and fallen in love with his new home.

“I came to Tasmania with the idea of just getting a couple of formal bits of paper, but I came on board as a student, fell in love with Tassie, [and] the team here saw something in me that they thought I could contribute,” he said.

“[They] asked me to do a little bit of teaching, which turned into a little bit more teaching and then eventually into the position that I hold now.”

Mr Welch now teaches Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation, helping to upskill existing guides and outdoor educators.

He has also taken the time to rewrite the course program, but credits his predecessors with implementing a sold core to build on.

“I’ve had the advantage of being able to step on the shoulders of folks who have been in this position before me, and they have left it in a pretty good state but it just needed a bit of refinement,” Mr Welch said.

He believes his teacher-trainer of the year award was recognition of his work in rewriting the course and his efforts forging mutually beneficial relationships with a variety of contacts to provide more training opportunities for his pupils.

“My students win because they get contact with a varying range of students in their training,” he said.

“And the youth at risk and the school students win in that they get an experience and they have the potential to see a pathway for themselves if they’re interested in this line of work,” Mr Welch said.

The humble teacher said his award at the Tasmanian Training Awards was recognition for the work of the tight-knit outdoor and tourism team at TasTAFE.

“As much as it’s nice to be recognised, I really feel like it’s actually a team award for hard work that’s not only been put in by myself but the other folks around me over a number of years,” he said.

Shaun McManus

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