Hauling Charles Darwin University’s 10 tonne, 18-wheel classroom across the Northern Territory outback is a man whose diverse past equips him well for this varied job.
Peter Rose, part-time truck driver, community negotiator, logistics planner and problem-solver is at the frontier of the university’s remote education programs in the bush.
A career in the military, commercial fishing industry, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and the training industry has given Peter a wealth of skills often used in his role as remote field officer at Charles Darwin University.
His job involves extensive communication with bush communities, councils, and CDU educators before he drives many hundreds of kilometres to deliver mobile classrooms ready for the trainers.
Peter’s skills are clear as he guides a CDU mobile classroom, known as a Mobile Adult Learning Unit (MALU), to the next stop of a Northern Territory e-learning road-show.
After positioning the rig outside the local school, he is quick to jump out of the cabin and within 20 minutes transforms the trailer into a workable, air-conditioned classroom complete with open space, power, tables and chairs.
As students and teachers swarm into the classroom, Peter stresses the importance of communication and planning that goes behind this process in remote bush communities.
“My primary role is to engage with communities, develop great working relationships with them and take the effort to understand their needs,” he said. “From there, I link up the resources, complete paperwork and then deliver the facilities to make that training work.”
With vocational courses stretching from traditional trades through to IT, Peter makes sure trainers have their equipment, tools, computers or other needs such as sourcing access permits.
“Often my office is a hotel room, donga or the cabin of my truck. I don’t often spend time in the office,” he said.
It’s this extensive travel, variety of tasks, autonomy in the role and opportunity to work with a wide variety of people across the Territory that drew Peter to the role.
“I love telling people what we are all about, developing friendships and bringing the right resources together to make their training happen,” he said.
“It’s a great feeling to bring people and resources together to help the future education of people in the bush.”