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Class of 2012 – Thomas Slate

Class of 2012 Alumnus, Thomas Slate, started at St Paul’s in Prep when he was six years old.

Some of his fondest memories are connected with the Miller’s Factory Year 9 Centre and the small community feel that developed at the then separate campus.  He recalls the many facets of the Year 9 Program that included many city trips, camps and different styles of teaching and learning.

During his time at St Paul’s, Thomas was involved in many co-curricular activities that included football, netball, athletics, surfing and basketball.  He also took on leadership positions such as Peer Support Leader, Student Tour Guide and Franklin House Captain.  Thomas said “I also really enjoyed Year 12 as there was a lot of excitement around doing many things for the last time”.

Thomas considers completing Year 12 as a great achievement and he is also proud of winning the Victorian Boys Netball state title in Year 8.

After school, Thomas completed a four year apprenticeship in Electro technology as well as a four year university degree: Bachelor of Health and Physical Education.

Today Thomas runs his own electrical contracting business (Slate Contracting) and teaches as a casual relief teacher when he can.

We asked Thomas some questions about his life after St Paul’s…

What has your pathway been since graduating?

“At the beginning of 2013 I started an electrical apprenticeship with a local electrician in Warragul.  I did this until March 2014, when I quit my apprenticeship and started working at a nursery for three months prior to travelling around Australia.  A school friend and myself took a 4×4, a trailer, two motorbikes and a tinnie all the way around the coast of Australia for four months.  I then came back to Victoria in 2015 and started university at Deakin University (Burwood) to study a four-year Bachelor of Health and Physical Education.  I completed my first year of university and then recommenced my electrical apprenticeship at the beginning of 2016, picking up where I left off, but also continuing on with my full-time study of my second year of uni.  Last year (2018) I finished both my apprenticeship and university degree and I am now running my own electrical contracting business (Slate Contracting) as well as doing some casual relief teaching when I can.”

What do you enjoy most about your current occupation?

“Electrical work: I enjoy where the job can take me, as I have been travelling to remote parts of the Kimberley region in Western Australia to work at some incredibly picturesque places.  My electrical work gives me the opportunity to be exposed to other trades and I love being outside and making something from nothing.

Teaching: I love working with the kids, it always has and always will be my favourite part of being a teacher.  Having the opportunity to work with adolescents in such an important part of their life; the social interaction, relationship and journey they lead through high school is a real driving factor for me.”

Why did you choose these fields?

“I chose electrical as I love working on the tools and I knew it would lead to further opportunities to travel, as I am doing currently.  I chose teaching because I love working with people and I feel that I could have a positive impact on peoples’ lives whether it be big or small.”

What do you find most challenging about what you do now?

“Trying to find enough time to do both teaching and electrical work to satisfy what I love doing is the most challenging thing at this point of time.”

Thomas has had many influences in choosing his career pathway.  “My heavy interest in sport has influenced me to become a Health and PE teacher, although it is most probably the large amount of teachers in my family that has influenced me to become a teacher.  I also did some assistant coaching in football which was an eye opener of working with adolescents and how rewarding it can be.”

“I also have many family members whom are electricians and this along with the knowledge of it being a very good trade, influenced me to become an electrician.”

“St Paul’s had quite a heavy influence as to why I wanted to become a teacher, that’s for sure!  The opportunity to work with younger students in a leadership position was definitely a catalyst as to what was to come.  There was a large amount of great staff when I was at school that set quite a good standard and expectation, which also influenced my decision.”

Outside of work, Thomas still loves football and all other sports and he also loves travelling to remote parts of Australia when he has the time.

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