26 Sep 2023
With 20 years of experience in design and construction and 15 years working in the TAFE sector, SuniTAFE was thrilled to appoint Wayne Ketchen as the new General Manager - Education Delivery in June.
It was by pure coincidence that Wayne first visited Mildura last year for a trip away with his wife Joanne, so when the position was advertised, he was already aware of the region and what it has to offer.
“I was pleasantly surprised by Mildura, it’s a great city with all of the facilities you could ever need,” Wayne said.
“It’s almost like an oasis in the corner of the state and when we had the VTA Conference here recently, I think a lot of people were really blown away by what Mildura has to offer.”
When Wayne became aware of the General Manager - Education Delivery role, it didn’t take much convincing to have his wife on board.
“We are in this really sweet spot where the kids (Alex, 31 and Madison, 28) have left home and my parents are self-sufficient, so we were able to easily make this decision,” Wayne said.
“Joanne is a retired primary school teacher, so she is now enjoying settling in here, trying to make connections within the community and getting to know the local golf courses.”
Not only has Wayne fallen in love with Sunraysia, but he has also quickly found his feet in his new role.
“It’s been the right move, we are really enjoying it here,” he said.
Wayne is no stranger to moving away from his hometown of Ocean Grove, having spent six months living in Dubai, where at the time he was working as an architect.
“After six months of being there, the financial crisis of 2008 hit and all the work dried up very, very quickly so we had to come back to Australia,” Wayne said.
“My friend suggested I do some part-time teaching at The Gordon TAFE in Geelong, so I started off teaching casually, before being made part-time followed by a one-year contract and another before eventually becoming ongoing.
“There was a bit of restructure, and some vacancies came up in management positions, so I thought I’d have a crack at one of those and got that and then went into the management side of things and before coming to SuniTAFE I was the Head of Centre; Design and Construction.
“The TAFE sector is important, and I am really pleased to be working in that system and hopefully can make a difference to lives of those attending SuniTAFE.”
Wayne has seen first-hand within his own family a TAFE success story.
“My eldest Alex was studying Civil Engineering at university and at the very end of the course he decided he couldn’t do it anymore, so we had a discussion, and it came out that he was really interested in exploring his creative side so we worked out what options he had and he was able to study graphic design at the Gordon TAFE,” Wayne said.
“He got in and thrived, even becoming one of the top students of the year.
“He has never looked back and now works in the TAFE system as Visual Design Lead at Box Hill Institute.”
Wayne is looking forward to a long future in Mildura and working at SuniTAFE.
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