Imagine this scenario.

You’re a science buff who has to deliver a science-based training session to a diverse group of people from all different industries and walks of life.

We’re talking ministers, tradies, early educators – individuals who may have zero prior understanding of the subject matter.

In the past, James Barker would have struggled with the task.

However, becoming a better communicator is just one of the skills James learnt while completing Chisholm’s Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE).

Nowadays, he has no problem breaking down complex information into bite-sized pieces that are digestible and interesting for everyone.

“I really enjoyed the course,” James says. “It helped me to hone my training, my delivery skills and my ability to communicate with a wide range of people.”

After high school, James did a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Chemistry and Biochemistry, followed by a Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property.

For many years he worked in scientific instrumentation training scientists how to use equipment.

It was interesting work that allowed him to travel overseas and meant that he wasn’t in a lab all day every day.

Eventually, James decided he wanted to formalise his skills in training, so he enrolled in Chisholm’s Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE).

The course is designed to give students competence in developing and facilitating group-based learning programs, among other skills.

“I’ve always worked with degree-qualified people, whereas at Chisholm, I had a different range of people to work with, which was great,” James says. “I had to engage these people, some of whom had zero interest in science, and deliver information in an interesting, easy-to-understand way. I had to work on my skillset there.”

One of the course requirements was for students to teach the class in their area of expertise. In James’ class, for example, a vet nurse student taught everyone about how to restrain animals for injections. A childcare worker spoke about nutritional food preparation, while an electrician explained how to wire houses.

James decided to teach his peers how to collect a water sample for testing.

“I would have liked to talk about instrumentation, the analysis, the interferences and the problems you can have thereof, but that would have left everyone for dead,” James says with a laugh. “There’s quite a bit to it, but I kept it simple and just talked about how to collect a water sample.”

James nailed the course and was even nominated as Vocational Student of the Year at the Chisholm Education Awards.

The Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE) gave James the qualification needed to land a part-time role in training and assessment.

It also inspired him to pursue a new career path – he hopes to one day teach the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE) himself at Chisholm.

“By the end of the TAE I thought maybe I could do this,” James says. “I could make the sparky think about childcare and I could make the early educator think about plumbing. One thing I’ve always liked is a challenge.”