Nate Welch

White Water Kayaking

Last week, students of the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation course took to the Derwent River, followed by the Leven River in the north of Tasmania to tackle a week of whitewater kayaking.

Students spent the first two days developing their white water skills on the Derwent River such as reading whitewater, ferry gliding, exiting/entering eddies and much more.  Over the rest of the week, students were given the opportunity to execute their newly learnt skills and push their limits kayaking down the Leven River.

Highlights of the week included the satisfaction of improving throughout the week, group bonding and Ciara calmly waving and accepting her fate of being washed into a hole (a white water feature).  The students were lucky enough to be instructed by one of Tasmania’s most experienced and greatest instructors Nate Welch, special thanks also goes to Technical Assistant, Matt Smith.

Leven River Trip

With the Certificate IV Outdoor Recreation course coming to an end, the white-water paddlers recently embarked on a week of white-water kayaking, and instructing students on the Leven River.  It was a new stretch of water for the group and had some fun rapids and features to play on (contend with!), at the level it was flowing.  After the first reconnaissance mission down the river, we all retired with the comfort of Paton Park Scout Camp facilities for the night.

The following day, we enjoyed another run down the river, which was flowing at a slightly lower level, and relished the opportunity to play on some waves and plough through a hole, before an afternoon of instruction that we were to provide to some of the outdoor education students from Don College.  It was decided that we should take the students to the mouth of the Forth River, where some flatter water could be utilised, with the possibility of surfing some waves at the end of the day, if the students were up to it.  Despite the broad range of abilities in the group of learners, all students ended up surfing waves and having an enjoyable experience together.

Given the level of the Leven River the following day, we decided to take the next group of Don College students there and provide instruction that would allow a short river trip to be run.  Again, the Don College students rose to the challenge and were able to negotiate some rapids and have a safe and enjoyable white-water experience.

As the following day was our last opportunity as a group to practice our paddling before our formal assessment, we spent the entire day being drilled by ‘Sergeant’ Nate Welch, who is largely responsible for the fantastic development of the group over the duration of the course.  There was more than one occasion where I stopped to think about how far we have all come with our white-water kayaking skills, ability to pass on those skills in an effective and empathetic manner and to safely facilitate a river trip with students who are quite new to kayaking.

Beyond the professional development that has occurred within the group, there has been a strong social connection between our student group and our leader, Nate Welch, which was clearly evident on the late-night drive back to Hobart.  I would like to thank all involved for making the trip such an enjoyable success!

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

Nate Welch – VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year


We are delighted that Nate Welch our Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation Teacher and Coordinator was awarded the VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year at the Tasmanian Training Awards on Friday night.

The Awards recognise the achievements of apprentices, trainees and vocational students who strive for the highest standards of knowledge and skills within their industry.  They also recognise industry, employers, small businesses and training organisations dedicated to providing high quality training and improving the skills of the workforce in this State.

The Awards offer finalists the chance to gain personal satisfaction and the prestige of being part of an elite group who unequivocally represent the State’s best in vocational education and training.

This is a well deserved win as Nate has had such a positive influence on so many of his students.  He really is a committed team member and one who is incredibly passionate about his program and his students.

Congratulations once again Nate and we wish you all the best at the Australian Training Awards in Darwin this November.




Nate Rafting




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