When Liam Collins paid a visit to a friend living in the Far North Queensland community of Lockhart River in 2016, he never imagined it would spark his decision to change careers and relocate.
Having worked as a civil engineer for a few years, all it took was a short stint as a teacher aide at
Lockhart State School for Liam to realise the teaching profession was for him.
Fast-forward a couple of years and Liam was in the midst of his Masters of Secondary Education (Maths and Science), on a professional experience placement at a school in Brisbane, when he decided to go along to the 2019 Teach Rural Career Fair with some fellow preservice teachers.
'Before going, I didn’t appreciate that the career fair would be an opportunity to secure a job… I thought we would have to wait until the end of the year to get work,' Liam recalled.
'But we were checking the Facebook event during the day and saw that people were getting on the spot job offers, so we made sure we got along!'
'Within the first minute of entering the fair, we were met by friendly staff who helped us find the right people to talk to so we could make our career aspirations a reality.'
In a stroke of good luck—or maybe it was just meant to be—Liam bumped into the Deputy Principal from
Kowanyama State School at the career fair, who he’d worked with during his time up north.
Thrilled to hear he’d taken up teaching, the Deputy Principal offered Liam a permanent role to start in 2020.
Though he felt a little nervous about moving so far away from home and for the inevitable goodbyes to family and friends, Liam is now loving being settled in Kowanyama.
'I’m enjoying establishing relationships within the community to find ways to engage and teach my students,' Liam said.
'Teaching gives you the opportunity to give young people skills that help them navigate the world, which is so exciting.'
Liam is also embracing the professional perks and lifestyle benefits that come with living and working in a rural community, as well as learning more about the local Aboriginal culture and traditions.
'The small community feeling is really quite lovely because everyone is connected,' Liam said.
'And I love the outback and being closer to nature. It is beautiful up in Far North Queensland.'
'Some of the highlights for me so far have been socialising with the locals and my fellow teachers, hanging out at the local sports complex shooting hoops, getting to know the students and catching fish!'
'Working rurally also allows me to access permanent employment sooner, which is a great advantage,' Liam said.
'But what I think is most special is that teaching becomes a real 2-way process in a remote school. I know I’ll learn from the students too.'
Could a regional, rural or remote position be your next career move?
Make the time to come along to our next career fair and you might walk away with your first—or next!—teaching job.