TEACHING kids computer code is a dream job for Tom McGann and has led to him winning a national award.
The Mornington man, 22, was “incredibly proud” to be named the 2016 Achiever of the Year at the NESA National Employment Services Awards for Excellence in Melbourne.
Mr McGann works as an educational technologist at Wooranna Park Primary School in Dandenong.
The role includes teaching programming and other computer-related skills to gifted students.
“I sometimes have a group of kids that actually want to learn network engineering, which is amazing to me because it’s such a dry topic,” Mr McGann said.
“So to be able to make it interesting is cool.”
He also helps run a CoderDojo program where parents, students and IT experts work together.
“We’re printing a 3D robot at the moment,” he said.
Despite holding an Advanced Diploma of Network Security, Diploma of Network Engineering and a Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing, it took Mr McGann, who was born with a neuromuscular disorder – more than two years to find meaningful work.
“After I finished my IT qualifications, I knew it would take a while to find the right position,’” he said.
“I kept busy and added to my resume by completing smaller qualifications in various ICT fields as well as doing volunteer work teaching English to migrants.”
He then turned to employment services provider MatchWorks to find the right position.
“My employment consultant at MatchWorks was able to get me a position through her own contacts,” Mr McGann said. “She also assisted me with writing cover letters and developing a professional-quality resume.”
NESA (National Employment Services Association) is the peak body for the Australian employment and related services industry, and the award was sponsored by the federal Department of Employment.
NESA chief executive Sally Sinclair said it took “courage and determination” from Mr McGann “to overcome the level of disadvantage” he faced.