From self-doubt to star apprentice – Charles Darwin University


November 2021

Yron may have doubted his ability to study, but he emerged as CDU apprentice of the year.

Electrician Yron Allison is a graduate of Charles Darwin University’s electrotechnology course. He’s also a very busy guy.

When we rang Yron (pronounced I-ron) to ask about his experiences at CDU, he was in the middle of a solar panel installation, calling out instructions to his apprentice.

“It’s good to have an apprentice running around for me. He’s in his first year as a CDU electrotechnology apprentice and he’s doing really well—he really likes it,” said Yron.

How things have changed. Not so long ago, it was Yron who was the apprentice doing really well at CDU. But it didn’t start out that way for the Darwin native.

“I doubted my ability to study because I’d been out of school for so long”.

“With my previous experience, I knew I could do the hands-on stuff, but for the maths and science I wasn’t overly confident. But CDU’s installations and testing facilities are fantastic. There are mock-ups of power generation, motors, switchboards, and circuits that have faults to test. We also did quite a bit of work with emerging technologies, including programmable logic controllers, helping me to future-proof my knowledge.

“I could prove my calculations on a test board at CDU, which was awesome—it made the maths component much easier to understand, and maths is critical to an electrician. I constantly need to calculate volt drops over distances and such,” Yron said.

“All of my lecturers were top notch too—former tradies with a solid grasp of what they were teaching. Whatever my issue was, they were always there for me. It was great”.


Yron with his apprentice
Yron on site

Apprentices at CDU have intensive studies for two weeks then get back on the tools to put what they’ve learned into practice. They diarise their learnings at CDU as well as on the job, while CDU staff ensure employers have apprentices work in areas that will complement studies.

“You’re not just pulling cables or digging ditches. It works quite well, using the theory from CDU and putting it into practice in the field,” said Yron.

“My employer, Eco Smart Electrical NT, has always been supportive for me to be the best electrician I can be. And every day with them is different. I’m on roofs, in roofs, in office buildings, in people’s houses—in Katherine, Alice, Gove, Wadeye, Numbulwar, and many other Indigenous communities. No day is the same, that’s for sure.

“In terms of this solar installation I’m currently doing, it’s the way of the future. We need to make sure that our carbon emissions are reduced, so renewables are part of that. Anything I can do to help out makes me feel good,” added Yron.

Study Electrotechnology with CDU.

Read more here.