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Trio boosts teaching staff at Alice campus

By Patrick Nelson

Certificate III student Michael Baker and VET trainer Len Minty in the automotive workshop in Alice Springs Certificate III student Michael Baker and VET trainer Len Minty in the automotive workshop in Alice Springs

A former regional newspaper entrepreneur is one of three new lecturers to join the Vocational Education and Training team at Alice Springs campus.

John Bateup, a former manager of the now defunct Kimberley Times newspaper, is now one of three remote lecturers in business working in Central Australian communities.

“I’ll be delivering a broad range of certificate I and II programs to students in five communities in the southern part of Central Australia,” he said.

“My first assignment is in Titjikala, in the Simpson Desert about 100km south of Alice, where I’m teaching out of a Mobile Adult Learning Unit.”

Mr Bateup said that in addition to his newspaper sojourn, he had spent about 20 years as an educator across Northern Australia and the Outback, and eight years as an IT engineer in the remote Top End.

“I’ve worked in Broome in the west, on Murray Island in the east, at James Cook University in the tropics and at many places in between,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sarah Roberts has joined the Conservation Land Management team, where she will share her extensive knowledge in horticulture with students in Alice, Yulara, Tennant Creek and elsewhere throughout the Centre.

The green thumb, who has a particular interest in the propagation of plants, is a former officer of the Millennium Seed Bank project, an international effort to mitigate the extinction of plants by storing seeds for future use.

“I was based at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens where I ran germination trials, cleaned and packed seeds and maintained the data base,” she said.

The third new member of staff is Len Minty, an automotive engineering lecturer whose “service history” covers everything from push bikes to a Rolls Royce.

Mr Minty, who has been involved professionally in the motor industry since the mid-1970s, said it was a field where the technology had advanced significantly even though the basics had remained the same.

“I’ve been fixing or selling or servicing cars for a long time and I still get a kick out of it,” he said.

Mr Minty tells of a lighter moment, while servicing a V8 Rolls Royce in Victoria some years ago.

“It had come in for a periodical service and while I was working on the motor I dropped a spanner.

“I went to retrieve it, as you do, but no matter how hard I looked I couldn’t find the thing. It was lost somewhere in the front end.

“The vehicle went back to its owners and we didn’t see it again until it came back for another service about six months later.

“It would have clocked up another 10,000 kilometres in that time.

“Anyway, while I was poking around under the bonnet, what should I find but the long-lost spanner.

“It just goes to show the lot of an automotive engineer is always full of surprises,” he said.