Lifelong learner: from student to teacher – TAFE NSW Cobar


13 September 2021

When Cobar’s Joel Crawford first became a student at TAFE NSW, little did he know that within a decade he would be using the skills learnt there to teach the automotive workers of the future.

The 31-year-old is both a light vehicle mechanic and auto electrician, achieving Certificate IIIs in both trades. He has coupled these qualifications with a Certificate II in Automotive Air Conditioning Technology, Statement of Attainment in Introduction to Welding and has also qualified as a Roads and Maritime Services examiner for light vehicles.  

His most recent qualification gained at TAFE NSW was a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment where he assisted a teacher to coach current automotive students. 

Employed as an automotive worker in Glencore’s CSA copper mine near Cobar, Joel regularly receives job offers for other positions in the automotive industry where there is high demand for staff.  

However, his interest was piqued last year when his wife saw an advertisement seeking people who wanted to train as potential TAFE NSW teachers.  

“I’d always been interested in teaching and I was able to tap into a scholarship that meant I could work in the classroom while completing my own qualification,” Joel said. 

“Auto electricians and mechanics are highly sought after, so it is great to be able to bring my knowledge and skills to help train other people who can work in this field.”  

Working a seven-day-on, seven-day-off roster at the mine, Joel was able to combine his regular work with his teaching duties, presenting classes during the weeks he was rostered off.

Teacher Jamie Andrews assisted Joel to complete the practical component of the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.  

“Joel is a great example of how former TAFE NSW students can work in industry and then bring that knowledge and current industry experience back as teachers who help to upskill a new generation of workers,” Mr Andrews said.  

For more information about courses at TAFE NSW, visit