VET Teacher / Trainer of the Year

Winner: Fiona Plunkett

Subject area: Agriculture and rural operations, beef cattle production, horsemanship
Employer: Charles Darwin University

Fiona Plunkett is responsible for CDU’s Workplace Trainee Program working with beef production enterprises in the pastoral and agricultural industry. A large part of her role is ensuring that the training is up-to-date and relevant for industry clients.

Currently the program works with 39 cattle stations and nearly 200 students and Fiona and her team spend a lot of their time working remotely in dusty cattle yards. They encounter significant challenges ensuring resources are contextualised, engaging, and support literacy and numeracy requirements in environments that experience technological obstacles, such as poor or non-existent digital access and telephony services.

In addition Fiona trains clients at the rural campus in Katherine, including participants of the NT Cattleman’s Association Indonesia Australia Pastoral Program and recently presented a case study, with a colleague, to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, entitled Tall Tales from the Top End: A Case Study of education, training and employment in the NT.

Runner up: Howard Pullen

Subject areas: Electrotechnology
Employer: Charles Darwin University

Howard Pullen commenced work as an electrician in 1968 and since that time has owned and managed electrotechnology related firms, worked as a trainer and engaged in further study to become the trainer he is today.

With a depth and breadth of industry experience, he is innovating training delivery at CDU with the introduction of 24/7 internationally recognised, performance based, computer aided instruction program in electronics training used by the US Defence Forces and designed for the Aerospace industry.

As a person who believes teachers should adopt constant learning and adaptation to new technologies, he tries to make his delivery as interesting, as varied and challenging as possible. He draws his enthusiasm from positive student feedback and says he in turn never stops learning from the students themselves.

Last updated: 24 June 2019

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