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Apprentice of the Year to inspire VET's next skills generation

Last year’s ReadyTech ACT Apprentice of the Year, Morgan Sutton, has announced in National Skills Week that she will give her skills back to the VET sector as an educator and trainer.


When Morgan Sutton completed her apprenticeship at Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and became the 2021 ReadyTech ACT Apprentice of the Year, she wanted to enter her father’s electrical business, and later, to take it over when he moves to retire at the end of 2022.


With a Certificate III in Electrotechnology behind her, as well as broad experience across areas including construction and residential (and possessing the work ethic, drive and personality), there's no doubt she has the skills to thrive as an electrician and business owner in the ACT.


However, it turns out there was another future ahead for Morgan. Teaching and training.


With her versatility of skills, and having become an inspiration to young tradies in the ACT, she has been headhunted by National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to enter the teaching and training sector and nurture the next generation of electrical apprentices.


“To be honest, I had never thought about being a trainer or teacher of any sort, but I have been poached to become one of NECA’s trainers. I spoke to people in the industry and long-time family friends, and they said they thought I would be really good at that.”


Part of the reason is situational and financial. As the mother of two young children, and with the financial climate and building projects having slowed down right now, Morgan felt it was going to be stressful taking on her father's business, despite having worked towards that goal.


But part of it was a chance for a new, exciting career path fostering new vocational learners.


“I’m female, younger, and I’ve got experience in a lot of different aspects of the electrical trade. I feel I have a lot to offer students, as I am quite versatile, my knowledge base is quite broad, and NECA also sees me as someone who is relatable, who students can aspire to be like.”


Morgan has strong opinions about learning a trade based on experience. For example, she believes skills shortages are driving people into trades who might not be suited to it, leading to completion problems, including women, who are being encouraged in in record numbers.


“To be honest, a trade isn’t for everyone. It is hard thing to accomplish, physically, tech-wise, knowledge wise; not everyone is suited. You need a thick skin, broad shoulders, but if you have the right personality and the right work ethic, you will go far,” Morgan says.


One thing she is looking forward to is helping both male and female learners succeed. “We have such a skills shortage right now. I’m looking forward to bringing in some more people into the trade, showing them the trade and helping them succeed in the trade they've chosen.”


Morgan says that she hopes to make a difference in the ACT by bringing more apprentices into the trade, getting more quality out of them, and also making a name out in the industry as a trainer - something that being the ReadyTech 2021 Apprentice of the Year has already helped.


"The nerve wracking part is that when you are teaching apprentices, you have to teach them right. If I teach them or train them in the wrong way, it will be my fault! But it's exciting. Hopefully I'll be a trainer for a long time, as I'm envisioning this as a long-term career path."


Interested in finding out how ReadyTech can improve apprenticeship management and vocational learning with technology? Learn more here.