Liam leaves Grafton students feeling inspired about VET

Liam Muldoon recently spoke to a group of students at Grafton High School about his journey from VET student to successful mechanic and beyond.

10 June 2021
Liam Muldoon standing in front of classroom talking to students
Image: EPPP Ambassador Liam Muldoon inspiring Grafton High School students

When it comes to careers education, Grafton High School doesn’t do things in half measures. The school on the NSW North Coast runs a fantastic careers education program and Carly Piper, the school’s Careers Adviser, does a great job keeping students informed about what’s happening in the space.

Another person who brings a whole lot of passion to his work is Educational Pathways Pilot Program (EPPP) Ambassador, Liam Muldoon. Liam was invited to speak to a select group of VET students recently as part of Grafton’s Careers Week program, and his talk didn’t disappoint.

“I’ve brought Liam in for a few things in the past and he’s just so engaging,” says David Youman, Head Teacher, Careers for the Grafton cluster of schools.

Liam’s story will be well known to regular readers of the EPPP newsletter. The EPPP TV regular didn’t encounter vocational education until after he’d finished high school, but he quickly made up for lost time, pursuing an automotive apprenticeship before going on to complete a host of other certifications.

If there’s a central theme to Liam’s story, it’s his ability to not only spot opportunities when they come up, but to grab them with both hands. His highly developed communication skills have stood him in good stead too, and now they’re coming in handy on the EPPP Ambassador guest appearance circuit.

“He’s able to talk to students at their level, which is so important. He’ll grab them with an interesting anecdote or story and then build on that with more information,” says David.

“But his main message is that vocational education equips you with some great transferable skills, and he really pushed that when he spoke to the students at Grafton.”

When you think about his career, it makes sense that Liam would emphasise the value of transferable skills. After qualifying as a light vehicle mechanic, Liam moved into mentoring and management positions, before pivoting to mining and then heavy vehicles. Recently, he took up a full-time teaching position with TAFE NSW.

During his presentation at Careers Week, Liam also spoke about some of the other advantages that VET offers, among them the fact that you’re paid to go to school, you finish with a recognised certification and university is still very much an option.

All in all, it was a really inspiring talk that covered practical matters, like advice on subject selection, with some general life advice. The students left buoyed by Liam’s talk and inspired to learn more about their VET options. Some of them even took the conversation to Instagram, peppering @liam_the_mechanic with questions about his career and VET in general. If that’s not a sign of a successful school visit, we’re not sure what is.


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