All the Right Signals

The best people in any industry are driven by passion. The passion to succeed, learn and strive to constantly improve.

Central TV Broadcasting coordinator Peter Wharram possess this passion in spades and is determined to share it with his students in order to give them the best possible training.

Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA) in conjunction with Learning Australia, recently used Peter’s broadcasting course as one of twenty-four national case studies that illustrate good practice in assessment.

IBSA is one of eleven Industry Skills Councils authorised by the Australian Government to be an official voice on vocational education and training across six industries. The industries include Business Services, Cultural and Related Services, Financial Services, ICT and Communications, Training and Education and Printing and Graphic Arts.

To be considered as a case study, the course must illustrate good practice across a range of categories. These include providing timely and accurate information to all students, use formative feedback and include reasonable adjustment, and validate assessment with industry and other stakeholders.

Peter’s course was chosen as the case example ahead of all other broadcasting courses in Australia.

When you look at his record and reputation it’s easy to see why. He has 40 years industry experience and is still active in worldwide broadcasting projects including the Football World Cup.

When the broadcast industry changed in the 80’s and 90’s, TV stations shed jobs and ceased training; Peter took the opportunity to fill the gap and provide work ready training.

To prepare his students for the industry, Peter treats his students as if they were part of a real broadcasting crew.

“When I first meet the students, I tell them, they are not students but crew. I will treat you the same as I would my crew in the World Cup”, he said of his teaching style.

Peter’s aim is not only to teach skills but also to prepare students to enter the industry as soon as they graduate and he structures his course and assessments around that singular aim.

To make it in the broadcasting industry, students need to be able to work under pressure and have realistic expectation about the effort required. Peter uses his industry contacts to provide industry experience to his students so they can learn what it takes first hand.

For his second semester students, Peter coordinates twenty outside broadcasting events and organises students to work with industry professionals from NEP and Gearhouse Broadcasting on the weekends. The students get to work on professional broadcasts for events, such as AFL, Soccer, Rugby, Basketball, Netball, Australia’s Got Talent and The X-Factor.

Peter believes it is important to assess students in industry situations to gauge their levels of reliability, responsibility and ability to work under pressure, rather than just a set of base level skills.

To conduct a course like this, the trainer must have industry experience in order to recognise the important skills and necessary temperament for his students as well as having extensive links to industry professionals.

The time and effort required for a course such as this is huge. The events Peter organises are logistically massive and usually occur on weekends taking up to two full twelve-hour days as well as classes and keeping up with industry trends and technology.

“I love my industry. If you don’t keep up with it, it shows you have no passion”, Peter said.

To sum up how Peter sees his students and his own role as teacher and professional “You’ve got to want to do this”.

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