Electrical teacher pulls the plug

After 51 years in the electrical business Ralph Berry is retiring. He gave 35 years of teaching service to TAFE.

After 51 years in the electrical business Ralph Berry is retiring. He gave 35 years of teaching service to TAFE.

ELECTRICIANS have three golden rules that they must abide by, says retiring TAFE teacher Ralph Berry.

Don't give yourself an electric shock, don't give anyone else a shock and don't set fire to anything.

Last Friday Mr Berry, 68, worked his last day as an electrotechnology teacher at the Alanvale TAFE campus after 35 years.

His retirement marks 51 years working with electricity, which began with a course at school and, later, a railway electrical apprenticeship.

Mr Berry said he would miss teaching, which he compared to football coaching in terms of fostering development and encouraging growth, but knew he was leaving on a high note.

He said he had found it incredibly rewarding to watch 17-year-olds grow into men as they completed their courses.

Some of his most memorable moments were working and assisting students with disabilities, and working overseas for AusAID to increase power knowledge in developing countries.

``You see people come in here when they are 17 and they won't say boo to a goose,'' he said. 

``Then they are 18 to 19 getting into cars, girls and beer, and they might struggle with their courses but you remind them of their successes.

``Later they come back to do their contracting course, when they are older, raising a family, paying off a house, and you think `where did all these quite serious men come from'?''

Mr Berry said he would be finishing off a national electrical course textbook in his retirement while working out what his future holds.

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