Student leaps from cabinet making into the classroom 

Christo Bryden and partner Rebecca enjoy the cricket in Adelaide before he starts his studies at CDU

Christo Bryden is one of the contemporary faces of the 2008 student population at Charles Darwin University (CDU).

Aged 31, the Adelaide-based cabinet maker is about to start a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning after 10 years mastering his trade.

Christo applied to study at CDU after deciding on a career that combined his existing skills with the dynamic classroom environment.

“I had some great teachers in technical classes at high school and realised I wanted to make the same contributions with my trade,” he said.

He said he was excited after being accepted into the course.

“It was great to be accepted into uni, a step that most people take when they are younger, but I’m glad I made the decision now knowing what I want to do in my career,” he said.

Head of CDU’s School of Education Professor Alison Elliott said students from diverse backgrounds were attracted to the teaching degree.

“It draws in many people who feel a lack of satisfaction in their current positions and value the ability to inspire and help others with their life and technical skills,” she said.

Professor Elliott said Christo’s motivations were similar to many of his fellow students.

“He is at a great age where he can apply life experience and skills and still be relatively connected to the younger generation,” she said.

“Mature students have excellent academic records because they've made a focussed decision to work with children, parents and other community members.”

Christo joins a community of CDU teaching students across Australia, and even New York and China.

Professor Elliott said the students’ needs and demands varied with many preferring closer interaction with fellow peers and staff.

“CDU prides itself on using the latest internet technologies to deliver education, but at the end of the day talking to students, taking an interest in their studies and offering assistance is crucial to a positive study experience,” she said.

Christo said he hoped his first foray into study would reflect this.

”It’s wonderful they’ve given me this opportunity and I look forward to meeting and working with the other students and staff and have support when I need it,” he said.