Mildura Weekly : Friday December 5 2014 Vol 9 No 5
NEWS 21 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2014 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU A trip down memory lane, to 1974 • From Page 20 He’ll never forget the stench either. Despite the best clean-up efforts of Army, Air Force and Navy personnel, the smell of tonnes of rotting fruit and other perishables – left in the open in a tropical climate for two weeks – filled the air. Geoff spent the next 18 months working for the Government, con- centrating on re-roofing new (stron- ger) houses that were being built at a rapid rate. At the end of that contract he got a job as a housing inspector for just over six years, then went back into doing carpentry, joining and cabinet- making work. Geoff had always harboured a de- sire to work off-shore to further his ex- perience. He spent four years repeated- ly applying for a carpenter’s job in the Antarctic before finally being accepted for a six-month stretch on the world heritage-listed Macquarie Island, a national park that has been a Tasma- nian outpost since 1825. “That work continues to be one of the great experiences of my life,” Geoff said. “It was awesome. To say these people are dedicated is an understatement... they come together from all walks of life for a common purpose, and some of the work they do is incredible.” Geoff worked eight hours every week day building huts, sheds and doing various repair work, and every Saturday morning did volunteer work with teams carrying out research on all things Macquarie, including monitor- ing fairy penguins, a variety of seals and various other wildlife. He found it fascinating, despite often working in sub-zero temperatures. Before Geoff left Australia he or- ganised to carry out his banking via the internet, and the bank was so im- pressed with his story they made him one of their ‘pin-up boys,’ featuring him in their news magazine, and an internet banking information book- let that went to ANZ branches world- wide. Returning to Mildura in 2001, Geoff did a few odd jobs before getting a part-time position at TAFE, teaching carpentry to people with a disability. The part-time job turned to full-time, and 13 years later, Geoff is still teach- ing, although these days it’s more practice than theory, and he spends most of his time catching up with ap- prentices and their bosses on the many building sites around town. He is a walking, talking advertise- ment for all aspects of the building industry, and not surprisingly holds a special view that apprenticeships are the key to the future. It’s a long time since the 62-year-old started his four- year apprenticeship, but it’s something he’s never forgotten, and he highly rec- ommends it to today’s younger genera- tion. He’s keen to let employers know that the apprenticeships of today are a far cry from yesteryear, with most qualifications gained on actual con- struction sites, not in the classroom. “The big part of my job is on-site assessing,” he said. “It suits me, the employer and the apprentice, saves times and money – and keeps the ap- prentice where he is learning the most – on the job.” Geoff would like to see more building apprenticeships. “They have slowed down a bit,” he said. “Before the Global Financial Crisis we had around 65 apprentices on the books, but now we would be down to 20 or so.” He remembers completing his four-year apprenticeship with Neil Noyce, and says it was the best thing he’s ever done, although he never thought he would end up in Darwin. “In 1973, a couple of my mates said they were going up there to play footy,” he said. “I decided to tag along, thinking I would be there for the footy season...I ended up staying 24 years!” • FOOTNOTE: If readers want any information on carpentry appren- ticeships, Geoff’s contact number is 0419 232 623. • SEAL OF APPROVAL: Geoff Leng in the frozen wilderness of Macquarie Island, BOTTOM, and LEFT, face to face with an elephant seal. “As long as you are taller, you dominate them,” he said. “If they rear up, you just hold up a broom.” La Trobe MBA rises in global rankings LA Trobe University’s Master of Business Ad- ministration course has been ranked number four in Australia – and shot to 14th place in Asia – following the latest QS MBA international rank- ings. The La Trobe qualifi- cation now ranks among Australia’s top five uni- versities – after Mel- bourne, UNSW and ANU – and ahead of Monash, while also recording its second consecutive leap in the MBA’s Asia rank- ings (from 23rd last year and 32nd in 2012). La Trobe delivers the MBA from its Melbourne City Campus, while also offering the only face- to-face MBA program in regional Victoria at Ben- digo, Albury-Wodonga, Shepparton and Mildura. QS MBA rankings are based on the employabil- ity of graduates, with the system utilising global surveys of employers to identify MBA programs from which they prefer to recruit students.
Friday November 28 2014 Vol 9 No 4
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